Thanksgiving marks the official start to the holiday season. I love this time of year, but I recognize that for many people, the holiday season is a challenge. Being a family caregiver gives us a lot of tasks to do, and the coming of the holidays add additional tasks to an already full plate.
The most important thing for family caregivers to remember this time of year is that you are only one person. With so many things to do to make the holidays enjoyable, this is a perfect opportunity for people to get trapped into that cycle of what I describe as doing it all all at once, all by yourself. Remembering that you are only one person encourages you to choose what you can do.
I was talking with an older woman at the pool and we started chatting about how our days of preparing those giant family meals are done. Caring for mom means that I no longer have the time or the energy to prepare three meats, five side dishes, and four desserts anymore. So I've learned on this journey to do only what I feel up to doing.
The holiday season is still a time that brings great joy to me. However, I realized that for some, they have a very different experience. My encouragement to them is to give yourself space to feel whatever it is you're feeling and be honest about what you're experiencing.
This time of year, being honest with yourself helps you define what you need and then take the steps to get what you need in order to be at your very best during a difficult time of year. Ensuring that you have what you need helps make the holiday season meaningful to you.
The meaning of the holiday season is very personal and individualized to each person who's experiencing it. Choosing to do what's meaningful to you can heighten positive experiences as well as quell the impact of those experiences that aren't so positive.
My tips to family care givers for managing the holiday season are do only what you feel up to doing, be honest about what you're feeling, and three, make it meaningful to you.
Until next time, Dr. Sheri
Dr. Sheri L. Yarbrough is an author, caregiver, and founder of Praxis Senior Care-Giving Solutions, a consulting business that provides care-givers with practical and easily implemented strategies that can be tailored to meet their individual care needs.
View Dr. Yarbrough's weekly blog on all things caregiving from a caregiver's perspective.