The Holiday Season is a wonderful time for family and friends to gather! Many happy celebrations, traditions and cherished memories take place during this time of year. It may also be a time of mixed emotions and additional stressers for caregivers. It’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, right?
Despite all of this, self-care is an effective way to reduce your stress, improve your well-being and help you find some joy during these challenging situations. Here are a few tips to help you make it through and enjoy the holidays, too!
1. Know your priorities Take a moment to consider what is important to you. Consider what gives you the most fulfillment and then prioritize activities, events and the people you spend time with. Recognize that it’s impossible to do everything and focus your time and energy on what’s really important. And don’t forget….it’s okay to ask for help from other family and friends!
2. Make time for yourself
It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of extra tasks and hassles that the holidays bring. Make time to stop and take a break, reflect on the moments and ‘look up’. Get our of the kitchen. Make sure you include yourself in the festivities and be an active participant in the celebrations!
3. Take care of yourself during difficult family interactions
The holiday season often means spending time with people you may not see the rest of the year. Since you can’t simply avoid these people, the best way to protect yourself is to keep contact as minimal as possible and stay neutral and civil. Avoid venting frustrations. Be an active observer and reserve commenting. Silence is golden in times like this. Take a time out.
4. Make room for grief if you’re missing someone who has passed away
The holidays can be tough when you’re missing someone important to you. Consider setting a place at the table, having a moment of silence, or sharing favorite memories as a way to honor them. Give yourself permission to feel your emotions as they are and don’t feel obligated to participate in activities if the emotions are too overwhelming.
5. Reflect on what you’re grateful for It changes your perspective and helps you see that there is always some good in life, even in tough times. Having each family member express something they are grateful for at the dinner table is a great way to keep things positive.
6. Remember that holiday stress will pass
When you’re in the middle of a stressful situation, it can feel like it’s never going to end. Keep reminding yourself that this will be over soon, that you’ve successfully made it through every previous holiday season, and focus on noticing and enjoying as many positive moments as possible.
7. Try to understand why you might be feeling negative emotions
Negative emotions during the holidays could be related to unrealistic expectations of yourself, too-ambitious goals, or just feeling overwhelmed. Adjust your expectations to suit the reality of the situation or choose to do a few less activities that aren’t as meaningful.
8. Find reasons to laugh
Humor is a fantastic stress reducer and an effective way of coping with challenging situations. Take the opportunities to laugh as much as possible during the holidays. And if funny things don’t come up naturally, watch a funny movie or show or do something silly like play charades or have a fun sing-a-long. Games are often enjoyable for kids [and adults] of all ages!
9. Take a few moments for deep breathing, meditation, or music This is a great way to help your mind and body relax. Keep calm and carry on!
10. Lean on a self care buddy
When you know you’ll be going through a tough time, it can be helpful to have someone to talk to – in person, via phone, or even by text. Let a supportive friend know that you’ll be checking in with them when you’re feeling down. Reach out when you’re feeling frustrated and need to vent. That’s what friends are for-the voice of reason and compassion. Just remember, you’re not in it alone.
At McGregor we encourage our families, friends, and volunteers to visit often. If you can put a smile on just one face, it will make all the difference in your life and that of others. Let your loved one know how important they are and that you are thinking of them. We offer so many programs throughout the holidays that are enjoyable for our residents, guests, family and the community.