5 Tips for Coping with Caregiver Stress Over the Holidays

Do you get stressed around the holidays? It’s quite normal to feel stressed with all the pressure of planning, shopping, expenses, family, activities, work, and being a caregiver -which always comes with surprises! While you can’t control what comes your way this holiday season, you can control how you react to and manage the stress you experience. Below are five coping tips for caregivers who are experiencing higher levels of stress during the holiday season.

How to Reduce Stress Over the Holiday Season

  1. Get outside and get some sunlight: During the winter months the sunset is earlier, meaning there are fewer hours of sunlight to soak up during the day. We can often feel depression-like symptoms as a result. Don’t let that affect your mood and add stress to your life and make an effort to get outside, despite the colder weather.
  2. Manage your expectations: This is critical. You will be dealing with lots of people that you need things from and those that are expecting things from you. Be realistic on what you can achieve and be comfortable knowing everything will not be perfect – that’s what the holidays are all about! To help, take a moment to write down four or five things you expect to happen over the holidays to frame your reference.
  3. Manage your finances and set a budget: Money and expenses can add a lot of stress around the holidays. Set a budget for gifts, food, events, and other items you can anticipate. Determine your budget and do your best to stick to it. Don’t overspend because you know that will eventually catch up with you and cause stress later when you receive your credit card bill in January.
  4. Pay attention to your diet and get active: It is no surprise that we often gain some weight during the holidays but you need to be mindful of how that affects your health and general well-being. Pay attention to your diet, try to pace your intake of sweets, and choose some healthy alternatives It’s all about moderation! Also, try to avoid eating after 8 pm. You will feel better in the morning if you don’t sleep on a full stomach.
  5. Be positive and have fun. The holidays are meant to be spent with your family, to give thanks for what you have, remember the past, and make new memories. Don’t get lost in the midst of the hustle and bustle. Instead, try to start your conversations by giving someone a compliment or asking them how they are enjoying the holidays. Keep an open mind and remain positive.

A Psychology Today article summarizes stress over the holidays the best: “stress is a physiological response, and, like the myriad number of events that happen in life, you choose how to perceive it. You give stress meaning, and the way you explain it to yourself is not a trivial matter.” You can control how stress impacts you. Follow our suggested tips above and find ways to manage your stress.

Do you have any additional suggestions for managing stress? Let us know! We would love to hear from you.