Do you Dread the Holidays?

By: Alice Stevens

Just because you are a busy caregiver does not mean you can not enjoy the holidays. Even though you are stressed with many difficult decisions involving your elderly parents such as health and finances, doesn't mean the season has to be a total loss.

Then the memories of better times start rolling in; almost to the point of over powering you. What about those memories of loved ones who died on holidays? Not only was my grandfather born on Christmas Day, but he also died on his 84th birthday. It's been almost 33 years now and I still miss having the birthday cake for him. It was such a big part of my childhood.

And why can't it be like it used to be? You wish you could go back in time and experience just one more Thanksgiving dinner with your loved ones....

No wonder caregivers get depressed during the holidays. Do you resent other people who are out shopping, going to parties and having a good time. Many experts will tell us, you are not alone. Not everyone is as happy as they appear.

In fact, if many folks were more honest about it, there are things about the holidays they don't like, don't want to do, and feel forced to participate in. Have you ever noticed the large numbers of bored men waiting for their wives in malls?

Here are 3 tips for avoiding holiday sadness

1. Happiness is something you do, rather than something you feel.

Stop worrying that you're supposed to feel better, happier and more cheery. Just do a small favor for someone else; preferably someone who can not repay you. A child who will not receive presents or a senior citizen who has no family are waiting for you. Every town and city are full of people who need you.

2. Quit trying to recapture lost memories and make new ones.

We all have our ideas on how it's supposed to be and how it used to be. Okay, things change. Make some new traditions and build new memories. If putting up that nine foot Christmas tree is no longer fun for you, leave it in its box this year. Instead why not loan your decorations to a nursing home for the season? Help put up a tree for the nursing home residents who will sit and enjoy it for many hours.

3. Indulge yourself in one small thing.

Maybe this sounds a little selfish, but I don't think so. You need a certain amount of recreation for yourself so you can recharge your batteries and then have more energy to help others.

Do you want a day off where you can go anywhere you please without having to take your aging parent with you? Arrange it. Have someone else stay with your parent.

Or,if your parent is in a nursing home, get away and take a drive. Take a small vacation from the responsibilities for a few hours. You'll be able to do so much more when you get back.

The holidays do not have to be sad times for caregivers. Remember there's a lot of stress out there for everyone and the happiest folks are the ones who plan for and work through their own personal circumstances.

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