A Parent’s Guide To Christmas: How to avoid stress and enjoy the holidays
We all know what it’s like. Even before December begins the pressure of the upcoming Christmas starts to mount up. Christmas can be a joyful time, but it can also be stressful! There is an endless list of chores from creating handcrafted cards, buying, and wrapping presents, and perfectly constructing gingerbread houses to food shopping, decorating the house, baking, homecooked dinners, and cleaning and tidying everywhere before the big day.
Holiday tips for parents
The holidays do not have to be overwhelming or exhausting. Get organized, get cozy, and enjoy the holiday with your loved ones.
In this blog post, we will share some tips on how to avoid stress and enjoy the holidays.
1. Prepare in advance
With early preparation, you can avoid last-minute panic. Preparation will ensure that you don’t forget anything and know what to do when, so you don’t end up stressed and utterly exhausted when the big day arrives.
2. Focus on what's most important
This seems so obvious but ask yourself what’s the most important. What traditions bring you and your family the most joy during the holidays? Getting lost in the swirl of holiday chaos, events, and expectations is easy. Pick the top few things that must happen and ensure they get prioritized.
3. Make lists
As a part of your preparation, make a list to prioritize tasks so you can focus on one thing at a time. Divide it into a need-to-do and a wish-to-do list. The wish-to-do list is the tasks that could be nice to do but could be skipped.
4. Manage Expectations
Talk about holiday expectations with your partner and family. Managing expectations ahead of time will help make sure everyone stays happy. We often fall into the trap of wanting to do everything and make everything perfect. But this is often unattainable, and we end up feeling like we are failing no matter how much time and effort we put into it.
Christmas is about togetherness and love and is not dependent on how pretty your house is decorated, how big the Christmas tree is and how many presents your children get!
5. It’s ok to say no
During the holidays it can be hard time to say no. There can be a lot of pressure from family and friends to attend parties, bring gifts, prepare food, etc. Remember that it is ok to say no to holiday invites or activities that don’t fit into your time, schedule, or your need-to-do/wish-to-do lists.
You can't do everything yourself so divide chores between your family. Everyone in your home can contribute and help in different ways. And if you have visitors, they can help share the burden too.
7. Online shopping
Consider whether you can shop online for any of your items. Both groceries and presents can be bought online. Avoiding in-store shopping will save you lots of time and energy!
8. Practice mindfulness
If you begin to feel pressure, you can use mindfulness exercises to calm down. Certified Holistic Health Coach Paulina Ortiz, provides the following guidance for mindfulness practices:
- Focus on your breath. Anxious thoughts and feelings pull us out of the present moment and into our minds. When you catch yourself getting anxious or stressed simply inhale feeling the air pass through your nostrils. Then, exhale feeling the air leave your mouth. This will bring you back to the present moment and into your body.
- Live in the moment. Even if it’s hard to slow down and notice things in a busy world. Try to take the time to experience your environment with all your senses — touch, sound, sight, smell, and taste. For example, when you eat a favorite food, take the time to smell, taste, and truly enjoy it.
- Body scan meditation. Lie on your back with your legs extended and arms at your sides, palms facing up. Focus your attention on each part of your body from toe to head or head to toe.
- Box breath. You breathe counting from 1-4.
- Inhale to the count of 4
- Hold your breath for a count of 4
- Exhale for a count of 4
- Hold for another count of 4
- Repeat for several cycles for at least 1 minute