The holidays can be both wonderful and stressful, especially if you are caring for a loved one with a changing brain. But there are things you can do to reduce stress and improve those meaningful moments. Check out our tips to help the holidays go as smooth as possible! 

  1. Quality over Quantity: You don’t have to stay the whole time, or approach holiday gatherings like you’ve done in the past. Consider structuring your visit to include the most enjoyable moments – the conversations, games, activities you value most – and avoid the strain of staying too long. 
  1. Prioritize Traditions: Cookies, decorations, gift wrapping – so many things and so little time! But don’t feel pressure to do everything! Pick and choose the most meaningful traditions. Focusing on just the most important traditions can help everyone have more fun! 
  1. Honor the Past: The holidays can remind us of loved ones lost, and times that came before. Some of those memories can bring sadness or pain. Find ways of honoring those experiences and loved ones – telling a story, lesson learned, or looking at pictures. Honoring our past can help us appreciate where we are now.  
  1. Holiday Blues: Though many people think of joy around the holidays, many also experience more complex emotions. Remember it’s okay to not be okay. Nurture yourself, develop reasonable expectations, and focus on what you can control. Reach out to others, including your LifeCircles team. 
  1. Tune into your Senses: There can be too much of a good thing! The holidays can be full of lights, sounds, smells – and all of this can easily get overwhelming, especially for people living with brain change. Consider arranging for a quieter location with less stimulation for your loved one to rest. Consider a place to visit with just a few people instead of a larger group. 
  1. Setting Healthy Boundaries: Remember it’s okay to tune into what you need and set boundaries that make sense for you. It can be helpful to communicate these ahead of time. For example, “we will visit, but need to leave before 3pm” or “Dad will do best to visit when the kids are playing quieter games” 
  1. Connecting From a Distance: Some of us cannot be together over the holidays, either because of distance or circumstances such as pandemic visitor restrictions. Consider technology to help you connect, or getting creative with window visits with caroling (cell phone speakers can help with volume) 
  1. Preparation: Delegate shopping or consider online purchases and gifting experiences/memberships instead of things. Need support with resources? Consider calling 211 to access local resources and help during the holidays. 

LifeCircles is grateful for work you do and the sacrifices you make to care for those you love. We hope you find moments of joy this holiday. We encourage you to ask for help when you’re not okay.  

For more tips, check out our surviving the holidays video from our team members on our YouTube page.

Need more support caring for a loved one living with brain change? Consider contacting LifeCircles to see if your loved one may be eligible to join the program. Already have a member in the LifeCircles program? Consider participating in our Caregiver Classes, starting in January 2022. For more information, reach out to your Social Worker! 

Last Updated on December 14, 2021