Tis the season to be jolly!

Image: Tis the season to be jolly!

In this session of Caregiver Tip Tuesday, physiotherapist Patricia Butler gives caregivers some helpful tips for making the holidays a joyful one.

Attention Care-aholics! As if you don't have enough on your plate already, guess what is so quickly approaching? In approximately seven weeks, many Canadians will be celebrating various holiday seasons; Hanukkah, First day of Winter, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, New Years Eve, and New Years Day. There may be other special celebrations going on as well, culturally or personally such as birthdays, anniversaries, office parties etc.

This season of celebration is supposed to be one of joy; however, for many people, it becomes a season of stress. How do you find the time, energy and financial resources to do everything you need to do to provide the perfect celebration?

Remembering that this is a season of love, and that we need to give ourselves permission to love ourselves enough to plan a celebration that not only meet the needs of others but of ourselves is a healthy place to start. Doing this will help you to relax and enjoy the preparations as much as the celebration itself.

The following is a list of tips to help make this season a truly joyful one:

  • Begin to plan now! I have found that life is constantly interfering with my plans. If you start early, you have time to be flexible.
  • Allow twice as much time as you think you will need to accomplish each task and write/schedule that time into your planner/calendar.

I know these first two steps already seem like they are a lot of work, but by taking the time to do them you will be saving yourself so much future time and energy. Don't count on your memory or keeping things in your head - life and a lack of time will surely catch up to you!!

  • Plan a budget for gifts and entertaining that is appropriate for you and the celebration, and stick to it! You will derive so much more pleasure knowing that you are not overextending yourself financially, emotionally or physically.
  • Write up a list of people for whom you want to buy gifts and keep it short as possible.
  • Remember that the best gifts come from the heart; in retrospect, these are always the gifts that will mean the most.
  • Plan your guest list carefully; sometimes it’s best to keep your celebration as simple as possible. Perhaps friends can be closer to your heart than family and if that's the case, that is also completely acceptable. Surround yourself with whom you love and love you; that is the true definition of family.
  • Plan to have everyone else another time when you are more relaxed and able to host. Be creative - perhaps New Years Day is an easier time to see everyone and you could have a simple open house for everyone you love.
  • Ask for help with everything that you can to save yourself time, energy, and expense. Think of this as a gift you can give to others - the gift of giving and receiving with an open heart.
  • Remember that we're all human and are not perfect. Be sure to have realistic expectations of what you and others can do. Joy, laughter, and love are the goal of your gathering - not perfection
  • Lastly, and most importantly, this is a time to set appropriate boundaries for yourself and to celebrate the gift of life that the universe has given to you.

Until next time, take very gentle care of yourself!

Patricia Butler is a Psychotherapist/Life Coach, has had a long standing career in life coaching and development consulting. Over the years she has helped a number of caregivers and patients through various life altering situations. Her motto? "Don't wait for a crisis. The smaller the mountain, the easier it is to climb." Patricia will be blogging on a number of topics including life transitions, healing, communication issues, and positive lifestyles changes.