‘Tis the season to be jolly!
Guest blog by Pam Seldon, B.S.W, Right from the Start
The holiday season is a time of family, giving and holiday traditions. We enjoy celebrations with garland and trees, delicious food, eggnog, family and acts of kindness toward one another. With all of these fun and enjoyable times and events comes the stress of the season, as well. We worry about money, time and how to meet the expectations of family and friends.
The American Psychological Association (APA) offers several tips to help us cope with holiday stress:
- Set expectations-Talk to your kids about expectations for gifts and holiday activities. Be open with them if money is an issue. Depending on a child’s age, parents can use this as an opportunity to teach their kids about the value of money and responsible spending.
- Keep things in perspective –Avoid blowing events out of proportion and teach your kids how to keep things in perspective, including what type and the number of gifts they receive.
- Make connections – Good relationships with family and friends are important. So, view the holidays as a time to reconnect with people. Additionally, accepting help and support from those who care about you can help alleviate stress.
- Take care of yourself – Pay attention to your own needs and feelings during the holiday season. Engage in activities that you and your family enjoy and find relaxing. Consider cutting back television viewing for kids and instead, get the family out together for a winter walk. It promotes activity and takes kids away from sedentary time and possible influence from advertisements.
As we enter the holiday season, remember we can make new traditions and enjoy the season on a level that is peaceful for our families and our budgets. Keeping our expectations and desired outcomes in the forefront of our minds will help us make choices that are beneficial to our physical, emotional, and mental health.
If holiday stress is synonymous with this time of year for you, consider talking to a counselor. He or she may be able to help you come up with plans to reduce the effects of stress on your holiday plans and make the season more enjoyable!
Pam Seldon, B.S.W. is a Master’s Candidate and Intern in the Sarah T. Butler Children’s Center at the Pastoral Institute. Contact us at 706-649-6500 or pastoralinstitute.org. Note: Portions of this article were excerpted from the American Psychological Association website.