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Holiday Stress: Tips for Parents

By Jennifer Scott

The holidays are one of the most stressful times of the year— especially when you have kids. The pressures of event planning and attending, financial strains, workplace pressure, and family drama can all trigger anxiety. Add on those things, but for your kids, and as a parent you have more than enough to handle come December. Once school is let out for the holiday break, it’s almost more than a person can bear.

Of course, you’re more than just a person– you’re a parent. And parents get through the holiday season every year. All it takes is a lot of planning and a little help, and you can make it to the New Year unscathed.

Set Clear Expectations

When it comes to stress management, boundaries are your friends. Sit down and make a list of realistic expectations for what you can and cannot do during the holiday season. Start with work. For example, what days can you come in and what days are you asking off for vacation? Now is as good a time as any to remind supervisors, set project goals, and schedule your out-of-office email responder.

Expectations are not just for your professional life. Set boundaries as far as holiday planning goes. Do you have time to holiday shop for all of your family members, or can you delegate some of that responsibility to your spouse or partner? You may have time to plan one party for work colleagues, but you don’t have to host a gift exchange for every group and club you are in. Your time is one of your most valuable assets, so budget it wisely during this stressful time.

Hire Help When Needed

With all the extra responsibilities the holidays throw our way, sometimes we need an extra hand with all the chores we normally do. For instance, if you need to spend every spare moment shuffling kids to parties and attending recitals, you hardly have the time (or energy!) to clean up around the house once you are home.

Hiring a housekeeper or maid service can take that one thing off your list so you can have that extra time for yourself– up to five hours! It doesn’t even have to take a huge bite out of your budget. HomeAdvisor estimates the average price to clean a house’s interior is $118 to $240. Your home may be crazy busy, but there’s no reason it can’t be crazy busy and clean.

Get Moving!

Exercising is a great way to relieve stress. When your body feels well, your mind performs better. Physical activity also releases endorphins– neurotransmitters that elevate your mood and provide relaxation. Exercise has also been called “meditation in motion.” Practicing mindfulness during stress-filled periods can help prevent mental exhaustion and burnout. Taking time each day to exercise also provides structure in your schedule, which can help us feel grounded during times of stress.

To help your entire family get through the season, exercise together. Take the dog for a walk around a nearby park. Or, play a quick game of your favorite sport. Parents.com has several great ideas for exercising as a family. Get moving to help reduce stress as well as promote bonding.

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The holidays are stressful on their own, but for parents they can be downright crazy. However, you can get through this time of year with a lot planning and a little help. Before the season even begins, set boundaries regarding what you can and cannot do. Don’t let your plate get too full to handle. Acquiring help to take over chores around the house can help free up time you need to focus on other holiday responsibilities– or just to relax! Finally, don’t forget to take time out for your physical health and exercise. Doing it as a family can keep the household calmer while also providing opportunities to bond.

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Copyright © 2018 by Fellowship of the Cosmic Mind. All rights reserved.