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Creating a Season of Joy: Managing Caregiver Stress During the Holidays

By: Commonwealth Senior Living / 10 Nov 2023
Creating a Season of Joy: Managing Caregiver Stress During the Holidays

During the holiday season, it's normal to feel stressed as a spouse, partner, friend, or adult child caregiver. With parties to plan, loved ones to visit, and desserts to indulge in, it's easy to forget about self-care. Remember, you must take good care of yourself so you can continue providing the best love and support to your loved ones.

Where You Live Matters provides these tips to manage holiday stress for caregivers:

  1. Address the root of any anxiety. Managing the stress of caregiving, holidays, and family members can introduce an additional layer of anxiety. You've likely heard the saying, "You can't control other people, but you can control your reaction." This wisdom certainly applies to the holidays but should be explored year-round.  
  2. Manage your expectations. There is always something to be grateful for. Even if the festivities don't meet childhood expectations, keep in mind you're still creating cherished memories.
  3. Stay in touch with your family members. While you've been taking care of your loved one daily, it's important to remember your siblings or nieces and nephews may not have had the same opportunity. Take time to communicate with everyone who visits, informing them of any changes that may have occurred since the last holiday season. This will allow them to adjust their expectations accordingly and ensure a smoother experience for everyone involved.
  4. Simplify if you're hosting. Hosting a celebration can be overwhelming without caring for a loved one. Remember that family and friends are coming, so you don't have to shoulder all the responsibilities. Ask them to bring the pumpkin pie or salad, allowing you to focus on more manageable tasks and the needs of your loved one.

It's not uncommon to experience conflicting emotions during the holiday season. You are not alone in the struggle to find a balance between caregiving responsibilities and the desire for relaxation. According to AARP, more than 20% of adults in the U.S. are providing unpaid care to a family member. This statistic highlights the significant number of individuals who are dedicating their time and energy to supporting their loved ones at home. This can lead to feelings of guilt and exhaustion, as caregivers often put their own needs aside to prioritize the well-being of others. Remember, "You can't pour from an empty cup." Taking care of yourself isn't selfish; it's necessary for your own well-being and ability to care for others effectively.  

It is important to recognize your need for care and support as a caregiver. If you are interested in joining one of our Caregiver Support Groups, contact the community nearest you.

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