Anxiety Management Tips for Parents Facing the Holidays

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Parenting is tough at any time of year, but when the holidays roll around, look out!  It’s that magical time of year when anxiety can kick in and take over – overthinking, overeating, overspending.  Next thing you know you’re just over it, all of it.  But you know what?  You can overcome it, and here’s how.

Connect, connect, connect

You know those people in your life who make you feel good and you smile when you think about them?  Spend time with those people during the holiday season.  The positive people who lift you up help lower your stress levels and remind you of all of your best qualities.  And if family members or friends offer to lend you a hand during the holidays, take it!  Accepting help doesn’t mean you are a lesser mom, it means you are smart enough to allow people who care about you to help out during the holiday season.

Talk with the kids

The American Psychological Association recommends that you talk with your kids about the holiday season.  Take opportunities to tell your children about all the different ways to celebrate the holidays, like which traditions your family embraces and why.  It’s also time to share with them what other families might believe and how they celebrate, or why they don’t celebrate.  Some experts suggest starting a new tradition or ritual with the holiday season.  It helps your family feel like one cohesive unit, which helps parents and kids develop better coping skills.

Enjoy self-care

Find some fun and relaxing ways to enjoy yourself this holiday season.  Eat right, exercise, get your nails done, go to a movie.  I know, your schedule is so tight you can’t squeeze any of that in.  But you need to make time, because it’s good for you, and you deserve it.  Start by taking time out of the tv schedule to go for a walk with the kids, it’ll be good for all of you!

Volunteer

According to the HelpGuide, volunteering can be a boost to your mental health and help reduce your anxiety.  The holiday season offers a wealth of volunteer opportunities.  You can work at a soup kitchen or ring a bell outside a department store.  It’s a great opportunity to talk to your kids about helping others and actually demonstrating ways to do it, too.  And hey, take the kids with you!

Be realistic

The holidays are an important time to check your perspective.  Are you setting unrealistic expectations?  You don’t need to be all things to all people, and this doesn’t need to be the “picture perfect” holiday.  Those things that you don’t get done before or during the holiday season will be waiting for you when the season is over.  You can catch them up then.  Don’t have time or energy to clean the house?  Hire a maid service!  It’ll free you up to get your shopping done, enjoy the kids while they are off from school, maybe even do some of that self-care stuff you don’t believe you can squeeze in!  You may be thinking it’s too expensive, but according to HomeAdvisor the average price in Cincinnati is between $113 – $232, and takes about four hours.  Totally worth it!

Change your beliefs

The holiday season won’t last forever, and you have a great track record – you survived every holiday season before this one.  Set goals you can manage, and when the little voices in your head say you can’t do this, know that you can.  If a day is getting away from you, roll with it!  The experts at Psychology Today tell us we get into trouble as parents when we try to stick too hard to our normal routine during the holiday season.  Let it go!  Instead of thinking “out of control,” think “child-like fun!”

Enjoy the joy!

Don’t lose track of yourself and get stuck in a season of anxiety – keep this a season of joy.  Flex your schedules, flex some rules, and do some things for yourself.  You’ll come through the season with flying colors!

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