Reduce Holiday Stress for Caregivers

caregiver stress meditative photo from sedonaReducing holiday stress for caregivers is getting harder every year. Christmas decorations started creeping into the stores before Halloween. You can bet that when political ads stop tomorrow we will start getting pummeled with messages about buying the perfect Christmas gifts for our loved ones. How do you reduce holiday stress while caring for a loved one and still honor your favorite traditions.

My husband and I have a blended family. Together we have eight children. Last year seven of them were with us for the holidays. We had house guests ranging in age from five to eighty-three for ten days straight. When they all went home, Alex said, “Next year I’m going someplace warm on a cruise for Christmas, and you are more than welcome to join me!”

I won’t provide the details about the fight that followed, but I will tell you that I finally agreed to do the holidays differently this year. Traditions are wonderful, but I’ve come to accept that it’s time for me to stop feeling responsible for making everyone else’s holidays special, and start thinking about what works for Alex and me.

The Normal Rockwell image of family holiday gatherings isn’t very realistic, and the pressure we put on ourselves to create that type of experience for our children, grandchildren, as well as our aging relatives, often leaves us physically and financially exhausted.

This week I’m going to be writing about how to avoid caregiver burnout during the holidays. Today I’d like for you to think about how you feel when Christmas is over and everyone has gone home. Is your heart full with a sense of joy, fulfillment and peace, or do you feel like you’ve just been run over by a semi truck?

Come back tomorrow and take a quick caregiver self-assessment test. Knowing where your stress level is right now may help you make some conscious decisions about how much additional pressure you want to take on during the holiday season.

Click here for the definition of the word tradition on wikipedia.
“Caregiver Help Word of the Day” is written by Elaine K Sanchez. For more caregiver support, visit her website,