4 Tips for Parents to Manage Holiday Stress

By Elizabeth Ernest, LMFT, LCSW

Happy Holidays! For most of us, when we think of the holidays, we think of joy, family, and happiness. However, reality might look a little differently, especially if you’re a parent! Most parents feel more stress around the holidays. Between parties for kids, buying gifts, and planning meals, the holidays can feel really exhausting. Here are 4 tips to help manage holiday stress as a parent.

  1. Schedule time for self care. At least once a week, schedule time for yourself. Take a bath, go get coffee with a friend, or start a new book. What’s important here is to make sure it actually gets on the schedule! Often, self-care is the first action item to go when your schedule gets packed. Be sure to schedule self care for after the holidays as well to help manage the post-holiday stress.
  2. Practice gratitude. Utilize the GLAD technique (G-gratitude, L-learned, A-accomplished, D- delight) with your family or yourself. Practice this once a day to summarize the day in a positive way. Another idea is to invite everyone in the family to name something positive from their day at dinner each night.

  3. Cultivate family time. Start a new (or continue a favorite) low key tradition. This could be movie night, baking together, or looking through old photos. This cozy time together can help you remember the joys of the season without the stress.

  4. Set realistic expectations. We all see those amazing holiday celebrations on TV and social media. Sometimes we need a reminder a picture perfect holiday is not always realistic. Be sure to share with your friends and loved ones the reality of the holidays for you and your family. I bet you will hear many of the same stories mirrored back to you!

While you’re busy trying to create holiday magic for your family, remember that you deserve to feel some, too. These tips will help you stay grounded and calm enough to enjoy the holidays for what they can be: A time to make memories together, relax from a few days off work and school, and connect with those you love most.

After the holidays, The Center for Mindfulness and CBT will be hosting a group Cultivating a Mindful Life with Your Daughter. This group could help with practicing self care and being intentional about time with your daughter. For more information, click here

If you struggle with loneliness or grief over the holidays, we offer a virtual support group specifically for holiday-related grief and loneliness. You can learn more about it here.