The holidays are a very busy time, especially for caregivers. But with so many traditions in place and tasks to complete, it’s hard to know where to bend without losing what people love about this time of year. “Choose only the most important yet feasible traditions, then adjust them as you would a seasoning,” says Carol Bradley Bursack, an author, consultant and speaker on caregiving issues. Here are a few ways to manage your time during the holidays:
- Hire Out
Many upscale grocers or restaurants will make your entire holiday dinner (or parts of it) for you and all you have to do is preheat the oven and pick it up. Or, maybe you want to cook, but hate to clean. Hire a one-time cleaning service before the holidays.
- Be Flexible
You can’t do it all, so look around you and find out who can help. Kids can clean or set the table. Spouses can run last-minute errands. “If possible, treat the meal as a potluck,” Bursack says. “Provide family recipes for those who want them or be ready to experience new foods.”
- Plan Ahead
Each night before you go to bed, review your to-do list and add to it for the next day. Then you can peacefully drift off to dreamland knowing you have a plan of attack. After all, sleep is a caregiver’s No. 1 defense against stress.
- Find Shortcuts
Prepare meals or parts of meals ahead of time and freeze. Use frozen veggies instead of chopping up fresh. Before guests arrive, take a bin and go around the house collecting all the clutter, then put the bin in a closet to deal with later.
- Lower Expectations
By aiming for perfection, you’re only setting yourself up for failure. “Know that what you can do is enough,” Bursack says. “Wearing yourself out to have a traditional holiday won’t help your sick loved one. Your cheerful, loving presence will.”
- Be Open
“Talk honestly with young children or grandchildren who will likely be most affected by gaps in tradition,” Bursack says. “Help them learn that people come first. They can help by providing alternatives to time-consuming traditions and by being good sports.”
- Let Go
Once family arrives or the holiday hits, just let go. Realize you’ve done all you can do and enjoy those around you. After all, that’s what this time of year is about anyway.
How Do You Find the Time?
Finding time to do everything during the holidays can be a tough task. How do fair at time management during the holiday season? What encouraging advice and helpful tips do you have for others? Share your hints and thoughts in our comments section below–we’d love to hear what you have to say!
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