Five Tips for Reducing Holiday Stress

Tips for reducing your holiday stress and enjoying the holiday with your family

‘Tis the Season. The holidays can be a magical time full of sparkling lights, tasty treats and traditions – but for parents they can also be a time of overbooked schedules, overtired kids and overblown expectations.

This year, don’t just survive the holidays. Follow these helpful tips to make holiday stress a thing of the past.

  1. Focus on what is important
    Ask yourself what is most important. If the kids are old enough, have them help you identify a few top priorities for the holidays. There are a ton of great events in Chester County in addition to spending time with family and enjoying traditions. Clarifying your priorities will help you, and the kids, get a handle on the overload says child-psychology expert Lawrence J. Cohen, Ph.D.
     
  2. Set Limits
    Between overly enthusiastic relatives, expensive wish lists and The Elf on the Shelf it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Before you commit to another holiday party or sign up for the work Pollyanna, ask yourself why. Why are you doing it? Do your kids need an elaborate Elf on the Shelf display? Does your holiday light display need to be worthy of the Great American Light Fight? Step away from Pinterest, remember your priorities and don’t be afraid to say no. You cannot please everyone and overbooking yourself and your family will only lead to a holiday meltdown. 
     
  3. Take the focus off of the presents
    here are some great strategies to help tame “toy lust” and take the focus off gifts. Some parents take the “want, need, wear, read" approach while others stick with a limited number of presents or a limited budget. Regardless of your gift-giving strategy, remember that the holidays aren’t just about gifts. 

    Have a conversation with your kids about holiday expectations and find ways to involve them in the spirit of giving. Make presents for relatives or teachers, sponsor a child on our Angel Trees or volunteer.
     
  4. Take Care of Yourself
    Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Make sure that you’re eating healthy meals, getting enough sleep and making time to exercise or relax. 
     
  5. Accept Help
    Say “yes” to help or seek out help. Let a relative, friend or neighbor watch the kids, while you finish your holiday shopping or ask your local YMCA branch about our upcoming Drop and Shop and Sitter Service schedules! 

    We know that not everyone has a lot of time off around the holidays, so the Y also offers holiday break camps to help you manage childcare during school district breaks. Ask your local branch for details.

Looking for more tips? Check out this great guide from SCAN, a non-profit organization dedicated to healthy families.