Monday, November 12, 2018

Holidays Your Way

What's best for you during the holidays? Many people associate holidays with particular traditions that may include familiar people, places, rituals, foods, music, and more. They may even internalize that if all or most of these components are not present, then their holidays are lacking, not whole, maybe even a failure. These feelings can lead to depression, helplessness about too much of their personal needs not being met.

Particularly troubling for some may be their adjustment to holiday customs after the loss of loved ones. In cases where memories remind them of traditions that are difficult to do without people no longer there, mourners may want to consider other ways they can better embrace the holidays. One option is to create new holiday practices. If holidays were celebrated as a family, new traditions can be planned as a family with input open to everyone. This will give them opportunities to discuss their feelings about the deceased loved ones and possibly include something in the new traditions that will commemorate the deceased in an uplifting manner. This could be a type of memorial that adds pleasure to holidays in the future.

Caregivers have special considerations and should not totally neglect their own needs. With a focus on the positive, they should create a workable plan to have holidays as stress-free as possible. They can consider including the essentials of what they hope to accomplish and eliminating activities that are not really needed. They should encourage assistance from others and be mindful of balance in their own lives. AARP suggests these 10 holiday tips specifically for caregivers.

Whatever situations the holidays bring, remember that there is no one way of participation for everyone. There are different ways that work well for different people. Their choices should be respected and not judged negatively because they are not the norm. For those who find the holidays frustrating, phony, or too commercial, they may want to redirect their holiday focus and participate in activities that are calmer and more meaningful to them. One example could be volunteering at places where they can be helpful to others. Some may want to celebrate alone or socialize with one or two friends. Another choice could be taking a trip to a location they love or want to experience.

Whether celebrating the holidays alone, with others, or not at all, people should follow their hearts and do what feels best for them. Person-centered holidays can include activities that may not have anything to do with the holidays at all, but everything to do with their own quality of life.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.
Hospice and Nursing Homes Blog

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