3 Reasons to Slow Down This Holiday Season

holidays
Image via Katie Hurley

Although the holiday season is often thought of as merry and bright, the reality is that it can also include a significant amount of stress.

From the moment Halloween ends until we ring in the New Year, the holiday season seems to go by in a blur.  With gifts to purchase, cards to send, concerts to watch, parties to attend, and treats to bake, it begins to feel like the holidays are really just one giant to-do list.

Although the holiday season is often thought of as merry and bright, the reality is that it can also include a significant amount of stress.  For parents, there is always something that needs doing.  And for kids, the overstimulation, increased sugar intake, and later bedtimes can really shake up the normal routine.

The result?  Stress.  Exhaustion.  Tears.

It’s important to slow down and focus on what’s important during the holiday season.  Randi Ragan, Green Living Expert and founder of GreenBliss EcoSpa says that parents need to prioritize what they truly value.  “We get so caught up in our obligations and impossible standards,” says Ragan, “We don’t want the goal to be to get to the other side if that means three months of our lives are a blur.  We want to gather the people we love and spend time together and enjoy the present.”

I tend to agree.  It’s time to slow down and put an end to holiday stress so that we can enjoy the little moments along the way.

Three reasons to slow down this holiday season:

 

Image via Flickr/
Image via Flickr/5 Ms in SoCal

Stress is toxic:

It’s no big secret that stress leads to increased illness, poor eating habits, sleep disturbances, high blood pressure, and contributes to numerous medical problems (heart disease, anyone?)  And yet, stress isn’t always taken seriously.

The truth is that kids experience stress during the holiday season just as often as parents do.  While they don’t have gifts to buy and budgets to consider, they do internalize the stress level in the home.  And those super fun late nights often lead to decreased overall sleep – a common trigger of tantrums, frustration, and irritability.

If the goal is to enjoy the holiday season with family and friends, then we need to keep our stress levels in check.  

 

Image via Flickr/
Image via Flickr/rosenblum68

Children take their cues from their parents:

We all have our own version of the “perfect” holiday, and many of us will go to great lengths to make that happen.  But it’s important to remember that our kids watch us and internalize our behaviors. 

Do we want them to see us running all over town and stretching ourselves so thin that we become impatient and quick to snap, or do we want them to see us soaking up the magic of the holiday season?  Sometimes perfection comes in small packages.  Enjoy the moments spent together, the family traditions, and the magic of simply being a family. 

 

Image via iStock
Image via iStock

You might miss the good stuff:

If you get too caught up in the school bake sale or preparing for the holiday classroom party, you might miss the smile on your child’s face when she opens a card from a classmate.  If you spend too much time trying to capture every moment on your iPhone, you might forget to sit back and actually enjoy the moments. 

When we run around doing and documenting and creating some version of perfect, we miss the moments that actually are perfect along the way.  Step away from the stress.  Set a few limits, step away from the lens, and immerse yourself in the true magic of the holiday season.  Your kids will thank you for it. 

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3 Reasons to Slow Down This Holiday Season

Katie Hurley, LCSW is a Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist and writer in Los Angeles, CA. She is the author of "The Happy Kid Handbook: How to Raise Joyful Children in a Stressful World". She earned her BA in Psychology and Women's Studies from Boston College and her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. She divides her time between her family, her private practice and her writing. Passionate about helping parents enjoy the ride, she provides parent education and simple strategies to take t ... More

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