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The Stress Of The Holidays: How To Feel More Prepared

It is always an interesting time when the holidays are approaching- the excitement, the stress and the uncertainty of it all. The holidays are thought to be a time where family gets together, everyone is in high spirits, and enjoys being in each other’s company. Social media and commercials make us believe that we should be constantly happy when the holidays are approaching, but in reality it can be a very difficult time for many different reasons. Is this the first holiday without a loved one present? Have you been going through a divorce and this will be the first holiday apart? Is that one relative who always starts an argument going to be present? Do you feel like you can’t get all you need to do, done? Despite what the reason may be, you are not alone in feeling more stressed than happy during this time of the year. The clinicians at Behaved Brains understand how difficult this time of year can be and talking it through is always a good way to ease the stress and learn strategies to make this time more manageable. This blog will provide you with ways to feel more prepared during the holiday season. 

Something that is often thought about during this time of year is where did the time go and how is it already that time of year?! Time management is something to keep in mind when trying to get everything done. Creating a To Do List to help provide a visual of everything that needs to get done, a list helps break things down into smaller more manageable tasks. Whether you are hosting this year or attending elsewhere, sometimes as adults we have difficulty asking others for help- delegating tasks to different family members can be a helpful way to get everything done AND not feel as stressed. This is also a time of year where there are alot of social commitments that may be challenging to say no to- remind yourself that is it okay not to attend every party you are invited to this holiday season. Prioritize important events and recognize ones that are just going to drain your battery. 

The holidays can be extra difficult when it is the first one celebrating without a loved one. Although it may be difficult to think and talk about a loved one, it is important to acknowledge them and validate your other loved-ones’ feelings. Having a conversation with your spouse about what approach you feel comfortable with when discussing it with your children is important to make sure you are on the same page. In cases where the deceased is a parent, having other family members there for support during this conversation can be helpful. Providing open dialogue, encouraging a safe space and focusing on happy memories spent with the loved ones is important. It is also important to reflect inward and ask yourself how you are doing and what do you need today? 

Another extremely difficult situation during the holidays is spending the first holiday after a divorce. You may ask yourself how do I approach this conversation with my children and how do I best explain this new dynamic? Every family and divorce is handled differently, but it is important to have a conversation with your children about this “new norm”. Explaining what they can expect on holidays moving forward, which holidays will be spent where and with whom, and answering any questions they may have can be helpful in understanding this new dynamic and feeling more prepared. 

It is important to emphasize family and how all families look different- emphasizing how this is a change for all family members can make them feel validated and understood. 

Despite the reason for stress, every clinician here at Behaved Brains has extensive knowledge and experience working with families in all different types of life circumstances, including families who are experiencing a significant transition. If you are experiencing a difficult transition and are in need of a professional to talk to, you are encouraged to contact our office.