ABH Maryland

How To Make The Most Of A Quiet Holiday Season


How To Make The Most Of A Quiet Holiday Season

  • Family
  • Mental Health

The holidays are filled with fun, food, and family. The expectations and constant gatherings, however, can lead to higher stress, more anxiety, and increased depression during the American holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. 

Does Stress Increase During the Holidays?

Whether you have tons of family and friends to spread your time between, or you are struggling with grief and loss during this season, the holidays can cause additional stress for everyone.

2018 study by the American Psychological Association found that about 38% of people experience increased stress during the holidays. Comparatively, only about 8% of people said they felt genuinely happier throughout the season. 

If you are craving a slow, quiet holiday season, protect your free time and your mental health instead of overextending to meet others’ expectations. 

7 Ways to Make the Holiday Season More Peaceful

There are tons of ways to focus on yourself and your mental health during the holidays. Here is a list of things you can control when things feel overwhelming.

city christmas lights
  1. Enjoy the holiday happenings. From festive music to Christmas cookies, there are so many seasonal specialties to look forward to. Whatever your favorite is, try to add some low-cost or free options to your annual list, like driving through the Christmas lights, watching your favorite winter movies, or spending a night by the fire with hot chocolate and loved ones.
  2. Plan ahead. From the menu and drinks to decor and cleanup, planning everything ahead of time can make you feel more in control of the day. Keep a list with blocks of time that are manageable, but do not get upset if you are running a little late!
  3. Make entertaining a team effort. Wrapping presents and planning parties can take a toll on anyone. Recruit your spouse, children, and family to help decorate and cook for the party. Spreading the load means less work and more family time in the process. Win-win!
  4. Do not be afraid to say no. Every year, the party invites can be overwhelming. There are an infinite number of holiday activities to do. However, there is only so much time in a day, and so many directions we can spread our time without being overloaded. Declining an invite or agreeing to just make one dish for Thanksgiving dinner is perfectly fine. Setting boundaries and sticking to them is the key to quality mental health.
  5. Let kids be kids. Parties can be a lot of overstimulation for children. If your kids want to skip a party, or they want to play outside, let them! This will give them better holiday memories and you less stress trying to change their patterns.
  6. Keep exercising. Schedules can be the first thing to go during times of stress, but they also help bring stability to your daily life. Continue your walks, workout classes, and everyday activities for most of the season. Even a Christmas afternoon walk is a great way to get moving and enjoy the time, too.
  7. Expect stress, anyway. There is no way to avoid every stitch of stress. Preparing for the inevitable and having your coping mechanisms ready is the best way to get ready for the day. Taking a moment to do a quick breathing exercise or focus on a mantra can bring calm to a stressful moment.

For a quick reset, breathe in for a count of four, and breathe out for a count of two. Repeat a few times until your heart rate slows and you are ready to try again!

Contact Us Today

When it comes to mental health, no one can fight an uphill battle alone. If you are struggling with seasonal affective disorder, holiday stress, or any mental health issues, we can help.

Contact us to set up an appointment and help stop the stigma of being “too strong” to need help.

When you think of the well-being of a child, you first think of basic needs: food, water, and shelter. Once these needs are met, however, it’s crucial for a child to have emotional and social wellness as well. In this article, we will explore the impact social wellness has on the overall health of a child and great ways for children to garner social support in their lives.

It comes as no surprise that as human beings, we all need connection with others, no matter what stage of life we are in. In fact, having social support is a social determinant of health (SDOH) that significantly impacts the health of an individual. After spending the last few years in and out of isolation due to the Covid-19 outbreak, social support is more important now than ever before. Having social support means having family members and friends you can talk to and seek advice from when life feels challenging and overwhelming. Knowing you’re not alone in your life journey, especially as a child, creates a sense of belonging and empowerment throughout one’s life.

4 Types of Social Support

Emotional Support. This type of support lets you know that people care about you and have empathy for your experiences. Emotional support often looks like people checking in on you to let you know they’re thinking of you, and that they are there if you need anything. As a parent, make sure your child knows you can be a sounding board for them. If you have family members who can also show up for your children in this way, even better!

Practical Help. This type of support is when people give you something tangible or offer a service to help you out. This could be in the form of money, making food when you are sick, or helping to pack when moving. Having family and friends show up in this way shows your child what it looks like to be present for people you love.

Sharing Points of View. This type of support can often come in the form of affirmations and encouragement. For example, pointing out your child’s strengths to them and reminding them they can do anything they put their mind to. It can also look like sharing another perspective if they are being hard on themselves. For example, if they are angry with themselves after receiving a bad grade on a test, you can help them see it as a learning experience and a way for them to grow.

Sharing Information. This type of support is when someone shares what they’ve learned from their own life experiences. For example, if another parent has a child who struggles with socializing, they can share some tips and tricks they’ve learned to help their child find and create social support.

The Importance of Social Groups and Extended Support

Children who are connected to their family, friends, and people in their community have opportunities to learn how to speak, share, and get along with others. When your child feels connected to people in your neighborhood, it often allows them to feel physically safe which can alleviate stress and worry. Simply riding bikes, going on walks, and saying hello to neighbors with your kids can create this sense of security for them.

In addition to engaging with your neighbors, getting involved in local organizations can also create social support for your child. Signing up for a sports team, musical theater, art class or summer camp are all great ways to help your child meet new friends and learn important social skills that can carry them through their lives.

Tips for Helping Kids Make Community Connections:

Spend time outside in your neighborhood playing on the playground, going to a local farmer’s market, or scheduling a playdate with neighborhood kids.

Show your kids that connection is a two-way street. If your neighbors or friends go out of town, offer to get their mail, or water their plants and take your child with you when you go. This will show your child how you show up for people you care about.

Make sure you make time for socializing with friends as well. Your child looks to you first and foremost for how they should act and live their own life.

Encourage your child to step out of their comfort zone and do something they may be scared to do. As a parent, it’s your job to push them into something social for their own well-being at times.