Managing Holiday Stress for Moms: You’re Not the Only One – Laurel Handfield
Remember as a young girl bursting out of your room bright and early on Christmas morning, excited to open up your gifts? Your ideal childhood Christmas is something you want your own children to experience, but there’s one problem: times are different. The world is dealing with a pandemic, racism, and inflation, and unfortunately, you may not have the finances to buy gifts like you used to. If you’re like millions of people who find it difficult to cope with these trying circumstances, especially during the holiday season, take a deep breath and know that you are not alone. Holidays are filled with love and hope, so use that hope when it comes to managing your holiday stress.
Spend Time with the Kids
Yes, you read that correctly. Most parents are trying to hide from their kids, much less hang out with them. However, try doing a fun activity with your young child. Remember how fond you were of having fun with mom and dad? They weren’t asking you to clean your room or pick up your toys. They were simply playing blocks with you on the floor, or baking Christmas cookies while you watched and licked the spoon. This is the perfect time to continue doing more of this. Read a book together, or do a few coloring pages with your child. Doing an activity such as coloring or drawing with your child not only gives you both some quality time, it also gives you some stress-free time.
It’s not always about how much money you spend on gifts. Can you remember most of the gifts you received on Christmas? I can’t. But one thing I do remember fondly is the smell of freshly baking cookies or a sweet potato pie in the oven. Recreate those good ol’ days by baking some of your family’s favorite dishes or try a new dish and create your own tradition. The key is to spend fun, relaxing time together.
If you are fortunate enough to have family members that are able to take the children for a few hours, then I say go for it—and by it I mean drop the kids off and go for a manicure, a pedicure, a massage or do anything that is calming to you. That may be simply relaxing in your quiet, kid-free house for a few hours so you can rejuvenate. Not every moment of your life needs to be about the kids, and although it seems like that is the case, you’ve got to take the initiative to make sure you’re okay. If that means a few hours of quiet time, then so be it. You’ll be doing yourself and your kids a favor.
Seek Outside Assistance
Sometimes, holiday stress can’t be resolved by baking cookies and reading books. Sometimes, a manicure and a massage aren’t enough. If you feel overwhelmed and stressed, it may be time to seek outside assistance. If this is you, never, ever, ever be ashamed to seek help if you feel overwhelmed. Some people will try to tell you seeking help isn’t necessary, but only you know when you are feeling swamped with everyday life. Studies indicate that continued stress can cause disease, so you owe it to yourself (and to your family) to keep your mind, body, and spirit healthy.
Stress can come suddenly (car breaking down, overdue bills) or it can sneak up on you when you least expect it (loss of a job, death of a loved one). During the holidays, you may feel as though you should be happy, but you can’t figure out why you’re not. Don’t put added pressure on yourself. You are not alone. Never lose hope and know that everything is fixable. It may not happen overnight, but it will happen. You got this, Mom!
Laurel Handfield is the owner and creator of Happy Island Press, a publisher that creates coloring/activity books for children of color. Her work has been featured in Highlights for Children magazine, and the award-winning apps Farfaria.com and Readabilitytutor.com, To date, she has written over 50 children’s stories and articles.
This Holiday Season, Laurel Is Supporting: Grand Bahama Children’s Home
Grand Bahama Children’s Home is a place for children (babies, toddlers, pre-teens) who have been abandoned to go for shelter. This is a wonderful charity when it comes to helping the children, but relies heavily on donations from people, especially during the Christmas season.