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Holidays can be a time of joy, gratitude, and love. But, for many of us, preparing for the holidays can also put even more tasks and responsibilities on our already full plates. Caring for a dependent loved one can take a lot out of you, so feeling the pressure to put on a happy face and organize decorations or gatherings can make us feel even more depleted. Feeling this way is not uncommon, and you are not alone. We have compiled a few ideas for tackling holiday planning in a way that you too can enjoy them.
While holiday traditions are special, it is likely that we remember them as being more perfect then what they may have been. Our holiday memories can often be idealized because we prefer to remember the good parts. When planning, keep in mind that being together is what is really important, not how perfectly things are intended to play out.
It is perfectly O.K. to create new traditions even if “that’s not the way it’s always been done.” Review your family traditions and revise them so that they factor in your current family dynamic, your personal time constraints and the health restrictions of the person you care for. This approach will significantly help to alleviate some of the pressure that the holidays can add to our lives. Scale back; focus on only the essentials of what is most important to your family unit.
It is also important to take into account that the loved one you’re caring for most likely doesn’t want to be a burden either, so by modifying traditions, you both have an opportunity to relieve yourselves of guilt and stress. Let relaxed and simplified family time become your new tradition.
You may find that the holidays bring out a range of mixed emotions for you. You are not alone. It is easy for us to think back to happier holidays spent with our dependent loved ones. We often put pressure on ourselves to feel like we need to recreate those times or to feel bad about our self if we cannot. Sometimes, you may just simply not have the energy to plan or attend holiday gatherings.
Let go of the idea of perfection, it is more of a concept than reality. Instead, just strive to do your best with your current circumstances.
Remember that self-heath is vital. Sometimes we think caring for our self is putting our needs before others. But, if you have ever taken a flight, you are aware that the flight attendant routinely asks you to “Put the oxygen mask on yourself before helping a loved one.” Apply the reason behind that to the importance of taking care of you. Think of it as a requirement, not an indulgence.
For more details and tips, we have many resources listed on our website that can help:
For other posts and articles that address these concepts, select from the following links:
NIH National Institute on Aging – Holiday Hints for Alzheimer`s Caregivers