The holidays are supposed to be a fun, magical time filled with friends and family. In reality, it’s an incredibly stressful time for parents who feel overwhelmed with kids’ holiday shows and parties, work and social gatherings, cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping gifts, decorating… the list seems to go on forever. If you’re a parent living with anxiety, the holidays become exponentially more stressful. Use our tips to manage some of the stress and get through the holidays with a little more cheer.
1. Make It a Family Affair
Sometimes, parents simply take on too much during the holidays. They feel like they have to do it all to make the holidays magical for their family. The truth is, kids enjoy preparing for the holidays (probably even more than adults do), so you should alleviate some of the pressure by making holiday preparation a family affair.
There are several tasks you can involve your kids in when preparing for the holidays, such as decorating and getting organized. If you’re anxious about kids breaking certain decorations, put them in charge of making decorations or use items that won’t shatter if they get dropped. Our beloved Target even has color coordinated ornaments that make it easy to decorate like a pro year after year!
Another option is to have kids organize rooms and put away their clothes and toys to make it easier to clean. You could consider doing a toy round up to donate prior to gift-exchanges. This not only makes it easy to clean before hosting, but also creates space for toys after as well.
If you’re hosting friends or family for the holidays, put the kids in charge of setting the table and planning fun activities to do with everyone. You’ll be surprised by how creative your kids are, and they’ll feel proud of being such good helpers.
2. Hire Help Whenever Possible
One of the best ways to manage the stress of the holidays is to make them less stressful by hiring help whenever possible. Cleaning may be the most time-consuming task during the holidays, especially because you have more people in and out of your home and more clutter from decorations.
That’s why, if you’re anxious about not having enough time to spend with your kids or enough time to enjoy the holidays, you should hire a maid service. According to HomeAdvisor, the average price to clean a house is $119-$236 and takes approximately five hours. You’ll be able to reclaim your time and enjoy being with your kids while they have a break from school, and the feeling of walking into a clean home after a hectic day during the holiday season is priceless.
You also can relieve some stress and ease anxiety during the holiday season if you hire someone else to do your cooking or baking. If you host a holiday get-together, hire a caterer to help with your hors d’oeuvres or the entire meal. A delicious holiday meal will arrive at your doorstep, and you’ll just have to make sure you have the seating arrangement worked out and the invitations sent. If you’d rather spend time cooking with your family because you enjoy preparing special holiday meals together, you still can save yourself the hassle of doing holiday baking by ordering holiday desserts from a bakery.
Can't hire help? Consider the times when family or friends say "Is there anything you need?" or "Can I bring anything"? Accept the help, and take the pressure of your shoulders. Everyone loves getting involved in the party, so let them!
3. Give Yourself an Early Holiday Gift to Promote Relaxation
One ideal way to manage your stress during the holidays is to make time for self-care. You need to prioritize yourself so you have enough energy and don’t get burnt out or sick when you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself. You also want to find healthy ways to manage your anxiety, so book an appointment with a chiropractor or massage therapist who will help you relieve stress and relax.
You also could give yourself a day off with your kids to make the holiday special by seeing a movie, going ice skating, or spending a day in your pajamas reading books and playing together. Your kids will remember these special moments more than any gifts they receive, and you’ll find yourself laughing and relaxing. Your kids will appreciate the break from the hustle and bustle of the season, too.
Even the most anxious parents can manage stress during the holidays by making a few good decisions. Start by making holiday preparations a family affair. Then, hire help whenever possible so you can spend time completing the tasks you enjoy and having quality time with your kids.