Here are three “Seasonal Offensive Steps”(SOS) to take you through the holiday.
1. Settle in early and enjoy the whole season.
Remember the season starts around Thanksgiving, followed by Christmas and New Year’s. You don’t have to be the first to get everything done. Stop keeping score; this is not a race to the finish line. This year we celebrated Thanksgiving with friends from church. We met new people, caught up with old friends and enjoyed a good meal. We simply had fun. Remember to take in each celebration and enjoy it for what it brings.
2. Opt for merry or happy, not perfection.
The holidays are stressful enough without striving for perfection. We have family traditions we want to uphold and this is sometimes overwhelming for a primary caregiver. Don’t pivot to the perfect decorations, the perfect gift and the perfect meal. You will only end up frustrated. I wanted new wreaths for the front door (old ones were damaged last year) and started working on them just before Thanksgiving. Creating a new one took a field trip to the craft store with Catherine, recommendations from my college roommate who loves to decorate and some old decorations. I did not labor over getting it just right, but instead enjoyed putting together something that made my family smile.
3. Solicit help. Try to accept it this time!
As a primary caregiver, you are so accustomed to handling all of the day-to-day stuff that you almost never ask for help. I am as guilty as the next person, thinking I can do this all on my own. Most times, I’m crumbling inside because I am so overwhelmed. The holidays often mean there are extra hands around. Ask others to bring a dish or two for the meal. Designate someone to shop for certain gifts that you just cannot get around to in time. Loved ones are often waiting and eager to take on a task to give you a break.