Caregiving Tips

Family

Coping with the holiday season as a family caregiver

The holiday season is special — marked by time spent with loved ones, the spirit of giving, and old traditions. However, with all the good that comes with the holidays, they can also bring about feelings of stress and anxiety. 

Between decorating the house and finding the perfect gifts, there’s a strain to work/life balance, especially for family caregivers who are already stretched thin. Plus, the holiday season coincides with the flu season and heightened risks of COVID. Here are some tips to help you look after yourself while you’re also looking after loved ones.

Simplify holiday activities 

We’ve learned in recent years that there are ways to celebrate safely, so consider adjusting your holiday plans to keep things simple, yet special. Whether it’s paring back the number of guests, gathering for outdoor activities, or taking some traditions virtual, there are ways to simplify festivities. Some fun activities to try might be:

  • Watch a slideshow of old family photos
  • Sing holiday carols around the neighborhood
  • Drive through a holiday light display
  • Play games like charades, trivia, or bingo
Continue to be health-conscious 

As the flu and COVID variants continue to circulate, discuss expectations with your family before gathering. Agree on precautions that will be taken and voice your concerns honestly. You may also want to get an annual flu shot as well as a COVID booster and test. A few ideas include:

  • Be diligent about washing your hands
  • If indoors, crack a window for air circulation
  • Designate one person to serve the food
  • Sanitize high-touch places like doorknobs and light switches
Care for yourself

Caregivers tend to give and give, and then give even more around the holidays. It’s hard to take care of others if your own needs aren’t being met, so go easy on yourself ! Simplify your commitments where possible, ask for support, and practice gratitude. Try some of these tactics:

  • Practice meditation or breathing exercises
  • Squeeze some physical activity into your day
  • Balance holiday treats with healthy food
  • Lean on other family members whenever possible to lighten your load