Do your holiday preparations feel like a part-time job? If so, Dr. Lisa Marotta, a clinical/school psychologist in private practice in Edmond, says you are not alone.
“Our regular responsibilities don’t decrease,” she explains. “And we have less time to relax and more pressure about finances. Whatever problem areas you were facing before the holidays will still be with you during the holidays.”
But the added responsibilities don’t have to zap the joy out of the season. Dr. Marotta offers the following tips to help keep holiday stress at bay.
- Simplify meals and keep the order of your evening intact. On weeks where school programs or other events will disrupt, plan and talk about changes in advance so everyone knows what to expect.
- Be intentional. Whether it is spending time together or giving back to others, set firm expectations for holiday priorities and allocate your time accordingly.
- Limit commercials. Turn off the television and turn on Christmas music instead. “If children are less exposed to advertising, there is less impulsive, ‘gotta have it” whining,” Dr. Marotta explains.
- Abandon old customs. Think about how you spend your time and the traditions you keep. If any aren’t working for your family—or are a source of stress or discontent—chunk them and replace them with new customs that truly bring you joy.
- Set a peaceful tone. With the extra events and activities taking place during the holidays, it can be easy to get unbalanced. “Be balanced, purposeful and present to your family,” Dr. Marotta advises. “Parents set the tone. Your children will never be more balanced than you are. Center yourself so you can be more peaceful in responding to their needs.”
Find more from Dr. Marotta at www.drlisamarotta.blogspot.com.