How to Keep the Holidays Stress-Free for Your Entire Family
The holidays can be a stressful time for the entire family, and Stress-Free Family Holidays Month comes in during December to help you minimize the stress. If you do feel stressed this time of year, you’re not alone. According to the American Psychological Association (APA) up to 69 percent of people feel stressed during this time of year, women in particular.
Why do we feel more stressed during the holidays?
Many people report feeling like there’s not enough time during the last two months of the year. Yearly projects are wrapping up, and there are many holiday events to attend. There are more things on your plate than there is the rest of the year, and that’s on top of all of your usual responsibilities. If you’re a working parent, you not only have family and friend holiday obligations but there are also holiday events at your child’s school.
You could also feel more social pressure during this time. If you’re hosting a gathering, there’s the pressure for it to be perfect. There’s pressure for parents to make the holidays a magical time for their children. Many people who have a hard time emotionally during the holidays, potentially due to hard family dynamics or grief, feel guilty for not being happy during this so-called magical time.
How to make the holidays less stressful
When their parents are stressed, children can feel it. The better you take care of yourself this time of year as a parent, the less stressed your children will be and the more they will enjoy this holiday season. The less stress in your home during the holidays, the more opportunities for family bonding and memories. Below are some ways to manage your family’s stress this holiday season:
Determine what magic looks like to you and your family
Try to not let the perfect image of the holidays that you may see in the media be your only image of a happy family during the holidays. Whatever traditions are special to your family are perfect. Simple is better.
Ask for help
Cooking, cleaning, planning, decorating, shopping, and more – you don’t have to do it all alone. What tasks could you outsource, and who of your family and friends can help you?
Make the little moments special
Things like decorating the house or baking cookies for your child’s class can be a daunting task, but you can do it with your family and make it fun. While you’re decorating as a family, play your favorite holiday songs and make hot chocolate. If your children are old enough, have them help you mix or decorate the cookies.
Cut the comparison
The pressure for the holidays to be perfect is very present, especially when you can see what everyone else is doing on social media. When possible, limit your consumption of content from every other family’s holiday gatherings, especially if you’re prone to comparison.
Make some tasks a family event
You don’t have to address every card and wrap every gift on your own. It can be fun for your children to involve them in the process. Try wrapping gifts and preparing holiday cards as a family.
Keep the discussion open
Try not to perpetuate the stressors of the outside world during this time in your own home. Your family could be struggling as well. Check in with your family and talk with each other about your stress.
Learn from Dr. Stark
Dr. Stark from the Laura W. Bush Institute for Women’s Health discusses what female caregivers may be experiencing this time of year. You’re not alone, and there are resources! Learn more: https://www.laurabushinstitute.org/