The holidays are a festive time of the year with family gatherings and traditions but it can also be stressful, especially for caregivers.

“I think the most important thing is to sit down with your loved ones and talk about what you get joy from the holidays. It might be 100 things but prioritize your first two of three for both of you so the both of you get things that matter the most,” says Jackie Boland, AARP Hawaii outreach director.

Get news on the go with KHON 2GO, KHON’s morning podcast, every morning at 8

Boland says to focus on the things that you can control.

“We all have way too much stress,” says Boland. “But caregivers, you can’t control what your loved one can do or their abilities, but you can certainly control what you can take on as a burden during the holidays.”

Also, set new traditions.

“Most of us love tradition and it takes us into the past and gives meaning for our family. But if those traditions make you sad, don’t do them this year,” says Boland. “Think about what you can do right now that’s going to give meaning and maybe you will start a new tradition.”

It’s also okay to scale back.

“For us, cooking has always been a big deal at Christmas. We love eating homemade food. But you know what, there are many grocery stores that you can buy the entire dinner pre-made and then just focus on the one dish that brings back that feeling for your family,” says Boland.

She also recommends expressing yourself.

“I’m a big fan of morning pages. Get up and write whatever comes to mind, three pages, don’t stop, don’t cross out, don’t edit and don’t judge yourself,” says Boland. “Sometimes when you’re giving care you can feel negative emotions as well, but everybody is human so just get them out and go on with your day.”

And if your day includes a visit to the salon or shopping mall, go for it.

For more information, head to the AARP Hawaii website.

Get Hawaii’s latest morning news delivered to your inbox, sign up for News 2 You

“It’s different for every person. I’m a big fan of caregiver support groups and now — there’s even more availability online,” says Boland. “But just the act of connecting with someone else who is going through the same thing as you can really help ease that stress during the holidays. But if it’s getting your nails done or your hair done, whatever it is, make the time.”