Christmas, Hanukkah, Easter, Thanksgiving, even Birthdays…these are all times that are meant to be happy and light. Yet, as a Caregiver they can often be the most stressful. Changes in routines and constant reminders of the “new realities” add to the already overwhelming amount of stress that Caregivers bear daily.
Here are some simple ways to help decrease Caregiver Stress during a holiday or celebration:
1. Focus on New Traditions instead of mourning the loss of old ones. Many rituals or routines that you have done in the past may no longer be possible for one reason of another. Attempting to “carry on as usual” will create burnout and exhaustion. Create a new tradition that fits into your loved one’s limitations, but also allows you to celebrate the occasion.
For example, if you always have hosted Christmas festivities at your home, have another family member do that this year. Maybe you always go to a certain restaurant for birthday dinners…this year call ahead to request them to make your favorite meal to-go and enjoy in the comfort of home.
2. Simplify. Sounds cliché, but its so important. Scale back on the decorations. Instead of cooking all of the Thanksgiving or Hanukkah meal, do a potluck with each person bringing their favorite dish to share. Elect a name exchange for gift giving like a White Elephant or Secret Santa to minimize all the buying, wrapping and coordinating.
3. Share Your REAL Wishlist. When someone asks what you want, tell them the truth. Maybe it’s them coming to the house for an afternoon so you can have respite and time for some self-care. Or a batch of pre-made freezer meals to pop in the oven or crockpot for days you’re too tired to cook. What about home repairs, a massage or even money to put towards a Caregiver to come to the house weekly…ask for what you really NEED this year.
4. Communicate. Be honest about your energy level and bandwidth. Your friends and family want to support you but can’t if you aren’t asking for help. Let go of the guilt or sadness that comes along with changes during this time, and try to focus on the love and joy that comes from knowing you have people around you that are there to support you.
Remember, SUNWAYS is part of your village and sending you love and light. Let us know how we can help support you or your loved one to help ease stress during a holiday and everyday.