As a working parent, I’m already at my limit on stress–how am I supposed to manage holiday stress too?? Help me!

Mental Health

A: We know that many parents are struggling for balance: working, virtual school, housework, and now also the holidays! To keep stress from putting a damper on the holidays, use proven strategies to take a pause.

As parents, we experience all of the emotions for ourselves and for our kids. Compound that with the stress of work, and we’re bringing home not just our own issues, but also mixing in problems shared from our coworkers. Add the holidays on top, and it becomes A LOT! And it can be heavy! Here are 3 effective ways to put those stressors in check:

✨Find a bit of joy for the moment and savor it, whatever it is. Focus on that positive energy! A quick note though–there is a big difference between finding joy in the moment and the idea of toxic positivity (pretending to be happy when we aren’t). We can appreciate what we can, while honoring that our environment can still be very challenging. We don’t need to pretend otherwise.

⌛ Minimize our own personal stress. This allows us to see our kids and coworkers as other people with their own problems (that you don’t have to take on)! Maybe this looks like doing more of your usual self-care, or adding walks around the block, or maybe it means taking 5 deep breaths in the moment. We may have to act *almost* immediately, but we can still snag the first seconds of reaction time for ourselves–to regain control of our thoughts before the actions begin. Time outs work for adults too.

🤗 We can empathize with other people instead of internalizing their problems. When we think about what we can do for our kids, we have to be ready to take our own feelings and frustrations out of the equation. They get frustrated like we do, but their younger brains have less experience to manage it. In the middle of this pandemic and the holidays, maybe this is an opportunity to identify what our kids love, and figure out how to promote that feeling in the moment.

2020 has been a major stressor for many people around the world. Perhaps this holiday season is a chance to build a sense of mental preparedness as we enter 2021.

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