Remember getting up on Xmas morning, twinkly-eyed to see what Santa brought? It’s a time of year that calls for magic, goodwill, fun times….and may include stress. What goes up must come down. Change of schedule, more sugar, house traffic, hurried voices, worn out bodies, unmet expectations..may be holiday crashers.
Choice Point: YOU Decide to Grow During the Holidays or Just Cope
- Soothe with Calming Actions. Research shows that adults who manage their stress and create calm within themselves have a calming influence on children. Tension begets tension. Deep breathing together at intervals creates calm. Take turns guiding: ”Slowly, deeply, evenly, breathe in through the belly button, 1,2,3,4,5. Breathe out the tight spots, 1,2,3,4,5.” Repeat 3X. Try breathing in beautiful colors, exhaling tense colors. Stress test: Warm hands are calm. Cool hands are tense. Test hands!
- Set age appropriate holiday goals TOGETHER with children (ie. Signals to stay calm and happy). Prevention is key. Everyone shares what symptoms may occur before losing control in stress. Help each other be aware and prevent.
- Create Magic and Fun. Everyone lies down in a circle, close eyes, breathe together. Start a fantasy story (I am floating on a cloud…). The next person adds to the story where you left off…continue around the circle. Leave cookies on neighbor’s porch. Hide treasures for each other.
- Talk as a family. Each person makes suggestions to solve tension buildup. Place suggestions in a jar to use.
- Take turns initiating laughter. Play together with age appropriateness. Make up games. Balloon games…ceiling bop; elbow race pushing them; draw faces of each other on balloons.
- Normalcy. Keep routines the same: mealtime, bedtime backrubs, chores, etc. Stability grounds and anchors.
- Create New Rituals Have fun being creative together. Try new activities. Light LED candles, share dreams, eat by candlelight. Be silly. Share gratitude. Foot rubs. Compliment. Do Family artwork. Color stress feelings. Discuss.
- Keep Kids Active. List ideas in advance. Dance together! Create inventions out of recycled items.’
- Discuss Expectations before holidays. State what may/may not be possible to prevent stress to reduce tension levels.
- Act, not React. Touch hand to heart during stress, FEEL “I AM CALM.” Breathe, Then act.
Holiday Bottom Line: Take Care of YOU. Your children will benefit. Set goals. Work together. Grow. Happy Holidays!