The most important gift any of us can give is our love and attention. But this may be difficult to do if we’re tired, overcommitted or feeling generally overwhelmed. It is often especially tricky managing our own holiday activities while caring for someone else.

As a caregiver, watch to see if your loved one is getting overwhelmed or stressed during the holidays, and take steps to help your loved one enjoy the season rather than overexerting himself or herself or stressing over small details. It's important to take care of yourself as well, to make sure you aren’t overdoing it.

Things that can cause holiday stress

A big part of dealing with holiday stress is managing expectations. Make sure everyone’s plans are realistic, especially regarding common stressors like:

  • The quest for “perfect” gifts
  • Going over budget on gifts, food and decorations
  • Cooking and baking too much, serving large festive meals, then overeating
  • Being overscheduled and overcommitted

Taking care of yourself and others this season

  • Communicate with each other about plans, schedules, expectations, and stresses
  • Stick to healthy sleep, exercise and eating routines when possible
  • Take breaks and rest. Spread out activities to the weeks before and after the holidays
  • A walk can work wonders. If possible, stretch the legs inside or outside, fill the lungs with fresh air and clear the mind. It can be an easy way to shake off stress, take a break from everything or even help settle a large holiday meal.
  • Step back, take a breath and a moment and enjoy the company of friends and family during the season1

Holiday travel tips for caregivers

  • Stay organized when you and your loved one are on the road
  • Keep health insurance, doctor and medicine information handy
  • Pack medicine for the trip and a few extra days
  • Make sure your hotel has in-room refrigerators for refrigerated medications
  • Don’t forget rescue medications
  • Find local pharmacies at the destination
  • For air travel, check carry-on rules for medicine containers. Don’t pack medicines in checked luggage.

SeniorBridge can help this holiday season, and all year round, with hourly or live-in care, help with daily living activities like meal prep, personal care and bathing, and companion care, providing regular social interaction, accompaniment to social events, assistance with shopping, and help with favorite hobbies and activities.

1. “Managing Holiday Stress,” Cleveland Clinic, last accessed Feb. 5, 2019,

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