With the holidays quickly approaching I thought it would be helpful to take a minute to provide a few reminders about reducing stress, as much as possible. I think the phrase, “as much as possible” is the first critical phase in enjoying the holiday season. Stress happens yearlong but intensifies throughout the holiday season and with retailers setting up their holiday displays earlier and earlier the level of stress is only escalating. Long gone are the days of Thanksgiving being the holidays seasonal kick off, now Christmas lights are up by Halloween. This adds in another month of planning, attempts at avoiding the inevitable holiday rush and the constant bombardment of activities that disrupt your families’ schedules. Attempting to minimize these disruptions will help to reduce the added stress.
If you find it hard to say no to your children, avoid taking them to the mall too often. This cuts down on the inevitable battle of wills, whining and you left feeling drained and under appreciated. Instead set up a holiday schedule of events and build family traditions. This planning gives the children a feeling of being involved in their holiday event planning and gives them events to look forward to. This will deemphasize the build up to the “big day” and relieve a percentage of the stress that anticipation brings. From Pioneer Squares Tuba Christmas to sipping hot chocolate on Peacock Lane, a visit to Pittock Mansion, driving through PIR’s light show, or a snowshoe trip on Mt. Hood, these activities highlighted on the calendar will give your family an outing to enjoy together. Be sure to plan in advanced for crowds, lines and small bladders. Bring along games, drinks or sing carols in the car to pass the time. These outings are designed to minimize holiday stress, not add to your stress level. As a parent it is not always easy to live vicariously through the eyes and hearts of your children, this holiday season attempt to embrace your inner child and be in the moment with your family.
The link below is to an article from Psychology Today that touches on mistakes that parents make during the holiday season. I hope there is a nugget or two of useful suggestions that may help you manage your holiday stress: