The holidays can be extremely difficult for caregivers. There are many things you might feel like you should be doing, but don’t have the energy to. There could be obligations that you don’t know how you’ll fulfill or you might even feel like the holidays should be canceled all together this year.
Celebrating the holidays doesn’t have to feel so hard. But you need to be okay with things being different. Most importantly, you need to be able to ask for help!
Here are things to consider asking for this holiday season so you can still enjoy celebrating with your loved ones.
- Ask for help with decorating. If you aren’t the person who usually pulls the decorations down from storage, trying to figure out how to get at them might be overwhelming. If decorating for the holidays has always been something that made you or the person you care for happy, then there is no reason to not enjoy them this year! Ask someone to come over to help bring down the bins. It can be a holiday celebration of its own! You can even ask a couple of people to come over to help you, put on some music, and enjoy.
- Ask to be included in holiday meals from a distance.If you can’t get together in a group this year, you can feel extra lonely on days you usually eat together with family and friends. Maybe the person you care for is not feeling well enough to make it through a dinner, or their immune system makes it impossible for them to be around a lot of people. That doesn’t mean you have to sit at home feeling sad. Ask to be part of the celebration! Someone can sit you at the table virtually by bringing you in on a video phone call or Zoom. If it’s not too far of a drive, ask that someone bring a plate of food for you and whoever is in the house with you that day. Or, if you have another person in the house that can drive over, have someone organize it so it’s all ready when they get there.
- Ask for a dessert drop. You probably know at least a couple of people who love to bake for the holidays. Simply ask that they consider making some extra. It doesn’t take much to make extra cookies, and if they love to bake, they’ll probably enjoy doing it even more!
- Ask someone to fill in for you.There might be some errands you’d like to get done for the holidays, but you can’t leave the person you care for home alone. Ask someone to come to the house to keep your loved one company while you go out to get some things done (or simply take that valuable time to relax.)
- Ask for help with groceries.Sure, it may be possible to have groceries delivered to you, or maybe you usually do it on your own. However, during the holidays, the delivery service might not have a seasonal item listed or you can’t deal with the crowded grocery stores. Make a list and ask a friend or family member to pick up the things you need, especially if they’re already going to be there. Most people know it’s not too much for them to pick up extra, they’ll probably be happy for the opportunity to help!
If this year has been difficult for you and your family, then you all deserve to be able to celebrate (even a little). Holidays are always emotional times of the year. It may be difficult for your family and friends to understand why you can’t be a part of the fun this time around. Remember, it’s ok to say no to some things, or even everything.
Yes, that does mean you’ll have to be a little vulnerable and let people know that you are struggling. It always feels vulnerable to ask for help, especially if it isn’t something you’re used to doing. Know that the people who care for and love you will want to help as best they can, but might not know how. If you ask them for specific support, it will be much easier for them to step in and be there for you.
Don’t cancel the holidays altogether. Ask for help and allow yourself to enjoy the end of the year with the person you work so hard to care for.