ABH Maryland

How to Accurately Manage Holiday Stress As A Family… The Right Way


How to Accurately Manage Holiday Stress As A Family… The Right Way

  • Children Mental Health
  • Family

Oh, the holiday season. It’s the most wonderful…ly challenging time of the year for so many of us managing holiday stress. It’s no secret that with the technological development of the last two decades and the aftermath of the pandemic, the holidays have become an extremely tiring race to the finish line. We get caught up in purchasing the perfect presents for loved ones to express our love adequately. We overspend at the grocery store to recreate Pinterest recipes like our self-worth depends on it. We desperately attempt to appear like we have it all together on our social media accounts as we post in our matching pajama sets with our kids. But we don’t have it all figured out because, well, we’re human. We’re humans living in the information age where we know all too much about the world and yet so little about how to take care of ourselves.

Managing holiday stress is difficult, but tools are available to help us navigate this busy time more efficiently—and experience the joy this holiday season is supposed to offer. Our and our children’s mental health is of the utmost importance. This festive season can create increased anxiety and depression, and parents are particularly susceptible as they juggle work responsibilities, family, shopping, and budgeting. Increased stress and decreased regular routines can exacerbate everyone’s mental health issues. Children who struggle with mental health illnesses can be more sensitive to these changes. In this article, we will share helpful tips for parents on navigating mental health during the holidays.

Tips for Parents on Managing Holiday Stress

It’s easy for parents to think that their stress is their stress alone; that their worries about money, family dynamics, sick parents, weight gain, and marriage troubles aren’t impacting their children. But the truth is, It’s easy for parents to think their stress is their stress alone; their worries about money, family dynamics, sick parents, weight gain, and marriage troubles aren’t impacting their children. But the truth is, whether we like it or not, if your kids live in the same home as you, you affect them significantly. This fact doesn’t have to be a scary truth, however. Instead, it can be an invitation to practice awareness, self-care, and mindfulness.

Children need routine and structure. Keeping at least one routine a day will help them deal with all the unexpected activities. For example, keeping a realistic bedtime routine and getting adequate sleep will promote the overall well-being of everyone.

You must take care of yourself. As parents, we’re used to putting everyone else before ourselves: feeding the kids, entertaining the kids, and educating the kids. These are all crucial parts of being a parent; however, your kids miss out if it’s your entire focus. You have the opportunity to show your children how important it is to practice self-care. They are looking to you to learn how to show up for themselves. Are you moving your body? Are you taking time for yourself (even if it’s fifteen minutes in the morning or before bed)? Are you beating yourself up every time you mess up? (1) Prioritize healthy eating and movement to show your children how to care for their bodies. (2) Practice deep breathing exercises (which can be found all over the internet) in stressful moments. (3) Forgive yourself when you mess up because you’re human, not perfect.

Set boundaries (no, really). Set limits if you’re stressed and uneasy about the holidays because you feel you’re supposed to spend time with family members. Either choose not to see those people because your mental health is the priority or see them for a designated amount of time. For example, only stay for an hour when you go to holiday parties. It might sound impossible to do that with certain people, but the decision is yours. No one will protect your mental health for you; you must show up for yourself if you want to find peace. Setting boundaries also includes setting a realistic holiday budget to reduce stress.

Slow down. We live in a fast-paced society, and our way of life gets even faster during the holiday season. Sometimes we join the race without realizing it because we’re just running beside everyone around us. Take a moment to slow down and check in with yourself. Whether it’s pausing for five minutes in the morning while you drink your coffee, journaling before bed, or sitting in the car on your commute to work – ask yourself how you’re feeling. Ask yourself what you have on the calendar for the week and check in with the “why” behind each appointment or event. How is it serving you? If it’s not adding to your greater good, maybe you choose to let it go. Share this exercise with your children to help them reflect and prioritize.

Prioritize play. Remind yourself that this time of year should be fun! If baking the best pie in town doesn’t seem fun, let it go and choose something else. Maybe going to see trains isn’t your kids’ cup of tea – so don’t do it. Ask your children what they want to do. Do they want to see a movie? Have a day inside where you lounge on the couch and order takeout? Remember, you make the rules of your life. If the current ones aren’t serving you, rewrite them.

Children mirror parents’ behaviors. Therefore, if parents are stressed, children often become anxious and worried. Parents need to be mindful of their young ones.

Rest, rest, and then rest some more. I know this one feels impossible to so many parents. But rest is hands down THE most important thing you can do for yourself and model for your children. Resting does not mean you’re lazy, no matter what anyone tries to make you believe. You are a human BEING, not a human DOING. And if you’re going to show up to life as a good version of yourself, you need your rest. Choose to go to sleep at a reasonable hour. Take naps. Take a few extra minutes in the shower or set a bath for yourself. Ask for a spa day when someone asks what you want from Santa. You must choose rest; it won’t choose you. Shopping and chasing the perfect gifts can limit parents’ ability to prepare balanced meals. To stay healthy, plan meals ahead of time to avoid overspending and exhaustion.

Contact Us Today

This time of year can be oh-so stressful for the whole family, but it doesn’t have to be. You can set the intention to practice being mindful of your commitments. If something doesn’t serve you, you can pivot and choose something else, even if no one else is on social media. Be the trendsetter. Be the influencer for self-care and rest. And if you need help, our team at Advanced Behavioral Health is here. From on-site counseling for children to therapy and psychiatry, Advanced Behavioral Health offers many traditional and progressive approaches to mental health.

Despite parents’ efforts to keep stress down, children who struggle with mental health issues may need professional help. Please consult with a local mental health professional should you notice any of the following behaviors:

  • Sudden change of behavior
  • Isolation and withdrawal from favorite activities or people
  • Decreased or increased sleep
  • Angry outburst

You can also contact Advanced Behavioral Health, Inc. at 301 345 1022 to schedule an appointment. Call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room for any urgent needs. Check out a complete list of our services today.

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.