Caring during the holiday season, make it stress-less

Well, the holidays are upon us and that means added stress for a caregiver. In prior years, you may have joyfully anticipated and participated in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season (including shopping, attending parties, tree decorating, cooking, etc.) Now, however, you may just want the whole thing over with.

The additional stress of family gatherings, gift buying, cooking, and other obligations can become cumbersome. How can you, as a caregiver, better cope with this stress?

Attend the Foundation for Senior Care’s next webinar, “Planning for the Holidays,” Nov. 12 from 9:30-10:30 a.m. Register at or call 760-723-7570. And see the tips below for help getting through (and even enjoying) your holiday season.

1. Consider alternative shopping methods. The internet is a convenient way to shop for food and gifts without ever leaving home. You can also choose gifts from catalogs without leaving your house. Minimize the hassle of shopping!

2. Scale back on rituals and traditions. Often we feel compelled to live up to past holiday traditions, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Suggest that someone else host Thanksgiving, Hanukkah or Christmas dinner. A potluck is also a great idea – delegate friends and family to bring favorite dishes.

3. Moderate. There are many attractive options in front of us during the holidays such as alcohol, sweets and high-caloric foods. Enjoy, but do not overindulge (you don’t want the stress of feeling sick the next day).

4. Practice flexibility. Be prepared for unexpected circumstances. Something may come up, and probably will, so what can you do? If you can, change the situation. If you can’t, accept it and move on. You cannot control life no matter how planned out you believe you have things. Laugh…It’s OK!

5. Exercise. Try to keep up on your regular exercise routine, or start one, during the holidays. Walking several times a week is a great way to stay in shape and it is easy to do. There is also something about pounding the pavement that helps release frustrations and clears your head.

6. Take breaks. Spend time with friends and take part in hobbies and other enjoyable activities such as yoga, meditation, needlepoint, reading, spending a couple of hours away from the house at the mall, library, coffeehouse, etc.

Dr. Diane Darby Beach is a gerontologist with the Foundation for Senior Care.

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