Ready, Set, Go!!!

Parent and child dressed as Santas, running

Get ready- this is Thanksgiving week.  From now until the first of the year, it sometimes feels like a race!  Rushing around shopping, decorating, cooking, wrapping gifts - in addition to the daily responsibilities of working, taking care of children, housework, laundry, etc.  And don't forget about entertaining or visiting the relatives (which may or may not be a pleasant experience)!  With all the extra activities, high expectations, and the desire to make the holidays special for everyone, we may find ourselves stressed out and exhausted.  

·Here are some tips to help manage holiday stress:

Prioritize: Sit down with your family to decide what activities and traditions are most meaningful. Choose to participate in only those activities and enjoy them more fully without having your calendar over-scheduled. It's OK to say no to some things.

Take care of yourself: It is tempting to skimp on sleep to cram in as much as you can in a day, but it is important to get enough rest. Take a break when you need to.  Relaxation and deep breathing often help when feeling overwhelmed. Eating on the run, skipping meals, or eating foods that are high in sugar and fat, but low in nutritional value is also a holiday pitfall that may leave you feeling drained. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables! And don’t forget to exercise…

If time with extended family members has been a source of high stress in the past, you may decide to limit the amount of time you spend with them this holiday season. Or instead of traveling, invite them to spend the day with you at your place. Have realistic expectations and use humor when appropriate to diffuse tensions. 

Simplify: Do you really need to bake cookies for all your co-workers, neighbors, and children’s teachers? Or have a fully decorated Christmas tree in each room of your house? Sit back, enjoy a family night with a holiday movie and popcorn. Involve your children with the decorating and cooking with age-appropriate tasks. 

Budget: Set a budget and stick to it.  Financial pressure is a huge source of stress and may result in conflict for couples.  Small children may have a long Christmas list, but will be delighted with just a few things.  This is a wonderful time to bring out the board games and play together as a family.  

Enjoy yourself and your family this holiday season.  Slow down, reflect on what the Christmas season means to you.  You may decide to sit out the race this year and warm yourself by the fire with your loved ones. Don't forget the Christmas music!