Mastering Holiday Caregiving: Self-Care Tips for a Less-Stress Season

Nov 22, 2023

It’s somehow the holidays again, and managing the holidays as a caregiver can be exciting, stressful, and sometimes filled with conflict as the family all comes together. All of the family events, get-togethers, and celebrations can be a time to reconnect and enjoy one another’s company, but can also be a time of stress or even conflict as loved ones age and caregiving tasks are shared. The holidays can disrupt regular care schedules, bring difficult family dynamics together, and can cause some stress. Today we’re going to share some of our tips and tricks for dealing with holiday stress, difficult family, and having a successful holiday season for you and yours. 

Prioritize Self Care

We’ve talked about practical self-care previously, and the holidays are no exception to making time for yourself. One of the best ways to stay ahead of holiday-related stress is to make sure you’re taking time for yourself, setting boundaries, and taking care of yourself. You can’t take care of your loved ones without making sure your tank is filled. 

Adjust Your Schedule

The holidays can disrupt regular routines between dinners, parties, and midweek holidays, interrupting regular appointment schedules and being difficult for both caregivers and care receivers. Simplifying your plans for the holidays can make a big difference in reducing some of the stress that can come with the holidays. Move appointments and regularly scheduled activities from the week of big events, limit the number of holiday parties you’re attending, and even simplify what you’re hosting or responsible for. 

Set Expectations

Similarly, set expectations and boundaries with your loved ones for what you’ll be able to accomplish and take on during the holidays. If you’ve been the host for family events in the past, you may have to have some conversations with your family about what you’re able to take on. If you need, taking a lower-key holiday season may also be what you and your care receiver need. Set boundaries for what you’re able to manage, ask for help, and set expectations for what this season may look like.

Dealing with Difficult Family

Even if you set boundaries and expectations with your family members, you may have certain personalities in your family who complicate things. When everyone congregates together during the holidays, these personalities can sometimes be overwhelming, lead to conflict, and sometimes make holiday stress worse. Some family members may be in denial of how your loved one’s health has progressed, others may be actively avoiding helping with caregiving, and some may just feel the need to critique how you’re handling everything. For those with negative comments, redirect the conversation or establish boundaries that you will not be tolerant of negativity, especially if they’re not actively helping with the caregiving process. If a family member is in denial, it can be hard to have open conversations about the progression of an aging loved one’s health, but it’s important to educate the family member about what is really going on. Finally, for those avoiding helping with caregiving, open conversations may be helpful (and necessary) to help remedy the situation. These conversations may not be easy or fun to have but may be important to help reduce stress and improve the holidays for you and your family. 

Tips and Tricks for Successful Holidays 

It can seem naive to think that a few conversations can help take all of your family holiday stress away, and we get that. Sometimes the only thing you can do is practice gratitude for what you have and those around you, watch a holiday movie, and just spend time with one another laughing.  

Try to take a break and sit down with everyone, enjoy their company if you can, and focus on the small wins. You might not be able to magically fix everything this holiday season with your family, but taking some small steps to mitigate some of the conflicts that may arise is better than nothing. Keep the lines of communication open, be honest with one another, have open conversations when conflict arises, and realize you’re doing the best you can with the resources available to you. 

Here at Avanlee Care, our mission is to support you in your caregiving journey no matter where you are with the process. You can get started using the Ava App for free today, or reach out to our support team 24/7 at with any questions.