Making the Holidays a Stress-free Occasion for You and Your Kids

Making the Holidays a Stress-free Occasion for You and Your Kids

Making the Holidays a Stress-free Occasion for You and Your Kids 600 401 Dr. Terry

Making the holidays a stress-free occasion for you and your kids could seem like a daunting task for some (or most!) parents. After all, you have to juggle between taking care of your kids, house chores, holiday preparations, and more! The holidays are a time for family, love, and cheer but it’s also the season that can bring stress for anyone. Much of the stress that adults experience comes from trying to meet or exceed impossible expectations and overwhelming demands, such as cooking meals, ensuring the house is clean, shopping for gifts for loved ones, entertaining guests, and attending social events. Even kids and teens feel seasonal stress from the increasing pressure and expectations, changes in routine, and family issues. But the great thing about holiday stress is that it’s predictable. We can make plans to cope with stress more effectively because we know when the season will begin and end.

As an adult or parent, here are some practical tips you can try in making the holidays a stress-free occasion for you and your kids.

Set a schedule.

Write down your plans so you can see how realistic they are. Make sure to plan what you can attend in person or virtually and give yourself time to get to appointments so that you are not rushing and feel stressed. If you’re hosting a party, create a menu to help you stay organized and make grocery shopping easier. You can also shop online to avoid the holiday shopping rush.

Make a budget plan and stick to it.

Make necessary adjustments to stay within budget when doing gift and grocery shopping. Be practical and creative with gifting. Spending money on your loved ones is important, but debts created at holiday times, lead to additional stress in the new year. 

Do not over-commit.

Having unrealistically high standards or expectations can also increase stress. So it is important to be aware of how much you can handle this season. Limit the number of parties you attend or the time you’ll spend in these gatherings so you won’t feel drained after. 

Take a breather.

Making the holidays a stress-free occasion for you and your kids is a two-way affair, you need to make it work for your kids and for yourself. That said, your need to make some time for yourself. Getting a massage, listening to soothing music, napping, or reading a book is time well spent if it helps you stay positive during the holidays. Find something that reduces your stress and may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do,

Maintain healthy habits.

The holidays often invite us to overindulge and ruin our healthy habits, which only adds to our stress and guilt. Take healthy snacks like fresh fruit or vegetables throughout the season and try to eat a small amount of protein before a dinner party or celebration. Drink water and limit alcohol. Don’t go overboard on sweets and processed foods. Include regular physical activity in your daily routine, such as a short workout each morning.

Connect virtually.

As families change and grow, your holiday plans may look different this year but you can still find ways to celebrate. For example, if some of your relatives can’t come to the gathering, find new ways to celebrate together. Set up virtual activities, like singing together, sharing real-time pictures or videos, or playing a virtual game. It may also help to confide in a close friend or family member if you’re feeling stressed during the holidays or sad because of a loss or disappointment. 

Volunteer your time.

There are so many people with additional needs during the holiday season. Consider dropping off a meal to a neighbor and going to charities, food banks, and other organizations that might need volunteers. Doing something to help others is a good way to lift your spirits and bring a sense of purpose and accomplishment. 

Practice gratefulness.

The holidays can be an important venue to consciously reflect on all the blessings in your life. It would help to write down what you’re thankful for each day or directly express your appreciation to your friends and loved ones. Keeping the focus on gratitude creates a loving connection, builds resilience, and fosters a calm spirit. 

Once you’ve learned to recognize your holiday triggers and have taken the steps to prevent stress and depression, you can now help your children toward happier holidays.

Here are some ways you can do to prevent and reduce holiday stress for your kids:

Stick to routines.

Kids do best when routines are predictable and healthy. Observe regular mealtimes and bedtimes whenever possible. You can also start to ease them back into the school routine with some light studying before the holidays’ end. 

Manage expectations.

Let kids know what they can and can’t expect when it comes to gifts they will receive. You can also sit together and discuss a realistic look at what you can and cannot pull off when it comes to vacation activities. But remember to talk in a way your kids can understand. 

Get them involved.

Spread out the errands and ask your kids to help with the chores and preparations. They can help with cooking or baking, decorating, or making homemade gifts. You can also encourage them to do something every year that is meaningful and fun, like volunteering in a food bank or toy drive.

Disconnect from screens.

Too much time using gadgets isn’t good for kids as it can cause sensory overload and encourages temper flare-ups. Social media in particular can create unrealistic comparisons with others’ holiday experiences. Take advantage of the school break by sharing an activity with your child. Go for walks together or play an outdoor sport. 

Make room for downtime.

When kids appear overwhelmed by the shopping and family trips, it’s nice to just stay at home and do some quiet and relaxing activities. Watching old home videos, doing a crafts project, or learning to cook something new will create memories that can last forever.

These tips can help ensure you and your kids truly enjoy the holidays when stress starts to set in. After all, holidays are meant to be a fun, enjoyable time with friends and family. So plan ahead and accordingly, pick your battles, and make sure you allow time for yourself. When you take care of yourself, you’ll be able to pay more attention to your children’s needs and feelings during the holiday season. 

But if you continue to feel stressed around the holidays, see a professional for help. Thrive Collective is here to help you identify problem areas and develop an action plan for changing them. Schedule a free inquiry call today!

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