In the midst of the hubbub, it’s often ourselves that we short first as we juggle the responsibilities of caring for our elders in addition to all the other pressures felt at this time of year. Here are 3 ways you can give yourself the gift of some sanity.
First – Avoid trying to be a Super Hero!
Trying to get gifts purchased, wrapped and mailed for yourself is a challenge, but when you are also the driver, purchaser, wrapper and shipper for one or more of your elders – the pressure can really be tough.
Take a step back. Make a list. Prioritize the list. Take one item at a time. Try to group outings together with multiple purposes/people. Realize that it’s ok if someone gets their package after the holiday. Know that it truly is THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS.
If you are the chief cook and bottle washer (as my MIL says) in the family, do your best to enjoy the time you are spending cooking for friends and family. Use shortcuts, if you can, by buying food already prepared or invite others in the family to make one of the MUST HAVEs for the holiday meal. It’s ok if the meal is not 100% perfect or the house (or table) aren’t House & Garden Magazine-worthy. It’s the time we spend together that matters.
Basically, embrace the chance for others to help, ask for assistance, don’t try to do it all, realize the importance of the TIME and not the things. You are already a Super Hero in your caring for your family and elders. Don’t try to top what you’ve already done. Just enjoy!
Second – Feed Your Own Soul
Take 30 minutes or an hour during the holiday weekend to do something to nourish your own soul. Walk, run, play with the dog, enjoy a game of Solitaire, do yoga, go window-shopping when all the stores are closed.
You need a reserve in your own self in order to have something to give others. Make a space for you to recharge your battery.
You are the only one who can carve it into your schedule. Stop reading this and put in on your calendar now. (I’ll wait….) Ok, now back to my blog.
Third – Understand Elders May Not Want to Go Anywhere and It’s OK
Your elders may not want to come to your house for a holiday meal. They may not want to ride around looking at lights. They may not want to go shopping with you for presents.
That is OK and you need to understand that it is OK. They may love it too – but be prepared for them to run out of energy before you think they should.
Be observant about their reactions (look at body language, not just listen to their words). They will likely want to please you and the family so they may say “Sure” when you ask if they want to participate in a family event. If you read their body language and it says “No”, honor that. They’re not rejecting YOU or your family. They are just tired, may be in pain or may just run out of energy before their mind runs out of loving the activity.
So what do you do? Spend time at their place. Take them out for a short time. Order a takeout meal, go to their place and just enjoy some holiday memories. Pick up a photo album, some cookies and sit down for a few minutes of reminiscing.
Take the holiday at their pace. It may allow you to relieve some pressure on yourself too.
One, Two, Three – It’s as easy as that to return some sanity to your holidays.
I wish you all a wonderful season of love and laughter.