An increased demand on your time and long to-do lists can create extra stress for families during this time of year. But there are steps you can take to lower the stress for you and your child.
1) Prioritize the important things. Not everything on your to do list may need to be completed. Often times we parents we create extra work for ourselves doing things we have always done, even though they might not align with what is important to us now. Rethink your priorities and take things off of your list, or ask others to help you with your tasks. It is okay to skip perfectionism, give yourself permission to just do your best.
2) Remind yourself the holiday season should be fun! Spending time with your family should be your number one priority. Take a few minutes each day to remind yourself. Spend time talking, playing, and laughing with your children to ease the stress. When parents are stressed, children feel stress which can increase challenging behaviors, which in turn increases parental stress.
3) Ensure you and your family are eating healthy and engaging in some physical activity. This is often hard during the holidays with increased access to sweets and cold weather limiting outdoor time. But engaging in these healthy practices can reduce levels of stress.
4) Engage in mindfulness activities to calm a busy mind. There are many ideas on the internet, have fun finding one that works for you. Some ideas can include: yoga, coloring, deep breathing exercises, meditation, journaling, enjoying nature, listening to calming music. Focus on the here and now.
Remember this is not only a stressful time for adults, but adult stress affects children. Take time to engage in positive stress relieving activities to increase positive emotions during the holidays for you and your child.
-Written by Cindie Silmon, LCMFT – a Rainbows’ Mental Health Specialist