Managing Holiday Stress
Psychology Today tells us that holiday stress is caused by the abrupt changes that happen during this joyous season. Schools close, routines change, bedtimes get later, more sweets are consumed, kids are begging for toys and are full of excitement and anticipation for the holiday to come. In 2020, this pandemic has brought us changes we never imagined. Our normal holiday routine may be drastically different. Visits with some family members and friends may not be possible. Places we frequented during this time may be closed. Change, sadly, will become part of our daily life. So, take a breath and recognize that this is a difficult time for all of us. Here are some tips and tricks to help you manage holiday stress:
- Be Flexible with schedules: If we are flexible about how we prioritize our time during the holidays, we can release our expectations to please everyone. Instead, joy comes when we go with the flow, and adopt a “do our best” attitude. Parents find happiness, at the end of the day, in the smiling faces of their families.
- Pay close attention to each child, at least once a day: It is important to remember that when things are hectic, kids find calmness and joy in their parents. Especially if you are struggling financially and gifts might be less this year, remember we can give the gift of attention every day. Put down phones and tablets and take a few minutes to connect with your children!
- Give the gift of acceptance: Holiday cheer and unstructured days can become chaotic. When you accept the behavior as child-like fun, you will notice a decline in your stress. There will be times when you need to reign in the behavior over the holidays but accept that these moments are inevitable!
- Know your stress triggers and relievers: If you know what causes your stress to rise, try to limit those activities. Knowing how you relieve your stress is also important. Try to replace any negative stress relievers like drinking or eating too much with healthy alternatives like taking a walk or listening to calming music.
- Don’t let your health and well-being take a back seat: The holidays are usually really busy for most people. Be sure to incorporate healthy foods and exercise every day. This will also help keep your stress levels manageable. If you do not have 30 minutes a day, try to break it up into three 10-minute sessions throughout your day!
- If stress becomes unmanageable, talk to your doctor! This goes for any time during the year. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, resources are available for you.