For some, the holidays become a tug of war between scheduling conflicts, custody orders, balancing finances, balancing kid activities, reminders of loss and accompanying grief; not to mention, the baking, the wrapping, the cleaning [repeat], the visitors, working from home, schooling from home, and even making sure that Elf on the Shelf doesn’t get into too much trouble; all the while, smiling through clenched jaws…. needless to say, the holidays can be exhausting.
When the holidays don’t seem so holly, there are practical steps you can take to reduce your stress levels to help you find JOY in the season.
- Eat nutritious foods
- Drink plenty of water
- Get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night
- Limit alcohol intake
- Exercise (even if it’s just a few minutes, some is better than none)
- Take a breather
- Be intentional in spending quality time with your circle of supportive people
- Seek professional help, especially if feelings of distress become consistent and overwhelming, despite your best efforts
- BE REALISTIC
- Don’t overcommit
- Accept it will not be perfect
- Be flexible
- Plan and stick to a holiday budget
- Remember you cannot control others, just your reaction to others and situations
- Acknowledge things are different.
- CO-PARENT RESPONSIBLY
- Review the custody order (know what to expect)
- Communicate your plans for traveling, such as flight times, etc.
- Remember the adage, what goes around comes around. This is not a time to fight with your ex to “win.” Work to keep the conflict in check.
Don’t let the stresses of this holiday season stop you from enJOYing this time. Be proactive in limiting stress, be flexible in your expectations, acknowledge you cannot control everything but can control yourself, protect your need for self-care, appreciate making new memories and traditions with your children, and be a responsible co-parent by doing your part. If you feel the conflicts are escalating beyond your ability to manage, don’t hesitate to contact a therapist, mediator, or family law attorney.