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Help caregivers cope with holidays

ESCONDIDO — The upcoming holiday season is meant to bring feelings of good cheer, but for caregivers, the holidays can be a challenge.Jennifer Marsh, Community Education & Outreach Coordinator at The Elizabeth Hospice, has some simple tips for caregivers who find themselves dreading the holidays.

“Remember the three C’s of caregiving during the holidays,” Marsh said.

— Choose – These holidays are different than those in the past. It may be that some events or gatherings are just too much to handle while caring for a loved one. Stress can be reduced by choosing one or two gatherings and being flexible in your commitments. Remember that “no” is a complete sentence.

— Communicate – Let others know that while you may want to attend their holiday gathering, it just might not be feasible because of prior commitments and your own energy level. Communicate openly and honestly with those impacted by your decisions, and use this as an opportunity to seek assistance from those around you.

— Compromise – It may be that in years past, you were the one gathering the group for a large holiday celebration, which required pre- and post-holiday planning. Compromise on what your expectations are for this year and be realistic about the need to adapt to your current situation. Try not to compare this year to holidays in the past.

The most important part of caregiving during the holidays is taking time to care for you, Marsh said.

“Caregivers are not expected to be everything to everyone. Find time to rest, eat right and spend quality time away from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season,” she said. “Ask for and accept help – most people have a genuine desire to help others, but are not quite sure how to help. By communicating your needs, you’ll give others the gift of being able to share in your life and ensure the least stressful holiday possible.”

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