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Happier Holidays: 5 Tips for Stressed Caregivers

By Rev. Katina Z. Jones, Ph.D.

The holidays can be a difficult time for caregivers of elderly relatives. Between managing your own stress levels and caring for their needs, it can seem like an impossible task to find moments of joy. But with some proactive planning and self-care, there are ways to get through these trying times while still providing quality care for your loved ones. 

Here are five tips that will help you prepare yourself mentally and emotionally so that everyone can enjoy the season as best as possible:

1. Plan Ahead 

The holidays can be a stressful time for caregivers, so it is important to plan. Make a list of all the tasks that need to be done and prioritize them. This will help you stay organized and ensure that everything gets done on time. Additionally, make sure to give yourself plenty of time to rest and relax throughout the holiday season.

2. Reach Out for Help 

Don’t be afraid to ask family members or friends for help during the holidays. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it can be helpful to delegate some tasks or enlist someone else to take over certain responsibilities. This will allow you to focus on taking care of your loved one and getting through the holidays with less stress and anxiety. Hire a doula for respite and on-going care needs to ensure you get breaks and regular periods of rest.

3. Set Boundaries 

It’s important for caregivers to set boundaries when it comes to their own needs and wants during the holidays. Don’t feel guilty about saying no if someone asks you for something that you cannot or do not want to do. Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of your loved one, so make sure that your own needs are met first before trying to meet the needs of others.

4. Take Time for Yourself 

Caregivers often put their own needs last, but it’s essential that they take time out for themselves during the holiday season. Whether it's reading a book, going for a walk, or simply relaxing in a quiet place, make sure you find some time each day just for yourself so that you can recharge and refocus on caring for your loved one.

5. Find Joy in Small Moments 

The holidays can be overwhelming at times, but try to find joy in small moments throughout the season such as decorating the tree together or watching a favorite movie with your loved one. These little moments can help bring some much-needed peace and happiness into an otherwise chaotic time of year.

The holidays can be a daunting task for caregivers, and it's important to remember that we need to take care of ourselves to take care of those around us. Allowing ourselves to take a break from time to time (even if that means just five minutes) is not selfish – if anything, it’s much needed self-care. Step back and take the time you need this season and don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it’s practical or emotional support from family members or professional services.

Rev. Katina Z. Jones, Ph.D., is a certified Doulagivers™ Doula and End-of-Life Care Specialist. She is also an ordained metaphysical minister and holds a doctorate in metaphysical counseling. Visit

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