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The holiday season is a hectic time of year for all of us. It is even more challenging when you’re caring for a relative with chronic health problems, a demanding role during even the best times.

Here are some helpful ways to keep the stress manageable so that you may enjoy the holidays.

Keep it Simple. Set realistic expectations, and be prepared to alter traditions. Let your relatives and friends know your needs and limitations. Decide what is most important and let the rest go!

Stay Organized. Make your list, and check it twice…if things start to get overwhelming, ask for help. Don’t be afraid to delegate responsibilities.

Include your Relative in Preparations. Allow your relative to help with decorations, baking, selecting gifts online or from catalogs. Even the smallest inclusion will make them feel valued and it will create a sense of partnership.

Take Things One Day at a Time.  The holidays are a magical time, but they don’t give us magical superhuman powers! You can only do so much. Take one event at time. If you accept an invitation, do so on the condition that you may back out at the last minute if you or your relative doesn’t feel up to the occasion.

Look After Your Health and Well-Being. It is hard to keep yourself on track when you put the needs of some many others ahead of your own, but remember, you cannot take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself first!! Get plenty of rest, eat nutritious food and try to fit in some exercise.  Also, take a few moments each day to give yourself a mental break; listen to your favorite music, meditate, write in your journal or call a friend. Keep these good habits in the New Year to ensure you and your loved ones remain happy and healthy!

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