In any “normal” year the holidays are filled with stress! With shopping, parties, cooking, writing Christmas cards, or decorating, there’s more than enough pressure to go around for everybody, but for family caregivers, everyday life is anything but ordinary! Back when the world outside was running the way we all expected, the caregiving challenges you faced as a caregiver, combined with the pressures and complications of the holidays could easily have made you wish you could just skip Christmas and move on into the next year of your life. In 2020, with the added stress of COVID-19, it is almost unimaginable. While many of the parties and activities have been canceled, the constant strain and worry of keeping your loved ones safe, especially if they are seniors with already weakened immune systems and any frailty at all, can make these holidays seem like too much to handle!
To make matters even worse, you might feel like a complete failure as you enter the end-of-year crush that is still going to happen. Everywhere you turn, you see your best-laid plans lying in ruins all around you. Perhaps last year you promised yourself you’d get an early jumpstart on those Christmas cards next year, or you’d do your shopping early. Neither of those things happened. The closet you meant to clean out is still overflowing with unworn clothing. Those 10 (or 50) stubborn pounds are still hanging around. You have so many plans still unfulfilled and intentions not acted on, because when it comes down to it, you just don’t have the energy!
This year, even in the midst of all of the craziness that has been 2020, it’s time to take control of your schedule and your life! You’ve committed to being a family caregiver, and that commitment means more than baking a few cookies or decorating a tree. It may feel impossible, but you can destress your holidays by following a few simple rules, starting with this one:
Take time to breathe this holiday season! The first rule for destressing the holidays is to take care of yourself. If you don’t do this, you can’t take care of anyone else, and without breathing, you cannot survive. Create some margin in your life that will help you focus, find your center, and renew your energy.
The next rule for destressing the holidays is to involve others in your daily plans and routines…and talk to them! Just including someone in the planning process as you talk through your responsibilities can help you maintain balance. And, when others offer to help, be ready with a list of ideas for how they can help out. Get creative. Let them help you find ways to take some time for yourself, away from the isolation of quarantine and breath some fresh air. Practice social distancing and follow safety protocols, but use the help of others to give yourself that breathing space you really need
You can also Click here for other tips and ideas for destressing your holidays so you can regain clarity on the real Reason for the Season: the birth of the Christ Child, our Savior. God’s gift of his Son was, hands down, the best gift of all, and none of us can ever top that. Embrace this truth, and let the stress just melt away as you relax into the joy of pure celebration. Joy to the World, the Lord has come. Let Earth receive her King!
Betsy and I hope you’ll share your heart about other ways to manage your stress through the holidays and beyond!
By the way, here’s a quick and easy recipe that I (Chris) have been making on Christmas Day for the last several years. Our whole family loves it, and it is so stone simple.
Holiday Boneless Turkey Breast
1 Boneless Turkey Breast Roast
1 can frozen cranberry juice cocktail concentrate
1 18 oz. jar orange marmalade
The night before, place the cranberry juice cocktail in refrigerator to thaw.
Season the thawed turkey breast roast with salt, pepper, cloves and garlic powder. The roast will be in a netting of twine. Leave that on, and just rub the seasoning on to the meat. Place the roast in a crock pot. Pour the marmalade over the turkey. Then pour the cranberry concentrate over everything. But the lid on the crock pot and cook for 4-6 hours. Roll the turkey breast over at the halfway point so the flavors seep in to the whole roast.
Remove the roast from the crock pot and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. Use kitchen scissors to remove the netting. Slice and enjoy.