Holiday Survival Tips for The Caregiver


By Jarene Barnes

Jarene holds caregiver workshops to help caregivers care for themselves
Jarene holds caregiver workshops to help caregivers care for themselves

As the holidays approach, most people enjoy the holiday season’s spirit.  However, there are many caregivers who will be happy when the holidays are over.  Caregiving creates a level of stress that is beyond the imagination.  Caregivers are absorbed with loved one’s pain, fears, and depression …including the caregiver’s own stressors.  Now add the extra stress and anxiety of family gatherings, cooking, buying gifts, and the unexpected…the holidays can be quite overwhelming.

 Here are some survival tips:

1.     Do something for “YOU.”Treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure or maybe a massage, get your hair done, buy something pretty (it doesn’t have to be expensive), go walking or take an exercise class with a friend, meet friends for lunch or dinner, go to a movie, play your favorite Christmas music.   Take a moment for yourself.          

2.     FELLOWSHIP: You can do so much for your spirit.  It can restore your joy and strength more than anything else.  Whether you go to church or spend a quiet time behind closed doors seeking and worshipping the “Reason for the Season” it will provide comfort to you.

3.     Start your own TRADITION:  Often, we feel obligated to follow past holiday traditions, but it is okay to change.  As family members grow older, many cannot travel from house to house to participate in the joyous festivities. Instead, bring the festivities to them.  Enlist family and friends to help with the cleaning of the home and meal preparation.  Assign specific dishes to ensure that a complete dinner is provided.

4.     HOLIDAY SHOPPING:  There are wonderful ways to shop when you are on a tight schedule and want to avoid the crowds.  The internet is a fantastic way to shop for food and gifts without leaving your home or office. Another way to enjoy shopping from home is by using your favorite catalogs, Home Shopping Network, and QVC.

5.     ASK for HELP:  Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends for help during the holidays.  You would be surprised how many people are willing to help the caregiver.  We don’t have to do everything ourselves.

6.     Remember to BREATHE: Amid the hustle and bustle, family responsibilities, work, and all the unexpected that may occur.  Remember to stay calm, take a deep breath, enjoy yourself, and Be Well!

 Jarene Barnes is a Caregiver Advocate, Life Coach, Speaker,  and Blogger.   She can be reached at or 412-654-4036 for workshops and speaking engagements.           

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