Disclaimer up front – I am a fan of the holiday season! The twinkling lights throughout the streets seem to add a bit of ‘merry and bright’ to the shortening days. There are a number of fun, festive events for you to take part in by yourself or with others. It can be an exciting time of year.
During casual conversations with families, friends and co-workers, people share their plans for travel, stay-cations, traditions both old and new, and even a memory or two about what they love about the season. This year I also asked each of them:
“Do you find anything about the season a challenge for you/your family? And if yes, what helps you (as a parent/caregiver) or your family in those moments?”
Below are a few tips that they have kindly shared that I thought might be helpful pass along. 'Tis the season of giving after all...
Challenge: The holiday season can be a busy one for parents/caregivers/families.
Tip: If possible, before the season starts and the calendar fills up, sit down as a family and ask each other “What are two things that you really want to have happen/be a part of our holiday season this year?” Talk about how to make them happen and if you can’t what an alternative would be?
Challenge: Many parents/caregivers can experience stress and anxiety for a number of reasons – the pressure to create a ‘perfect holiday’, to find and afford the latest toy/gadget, to have enough time to connect with all those they hold dear to them, to be present and in the moment as they are thinking of the zillion things on their to-do list in their heads.
Tip: Stop, take a breath. Perhaps there’s an opportunity to practice mindfulness – to be present in that moment. Try it on your own or do it together as a family. Schedule it in as a daily activity, just like brushing your teeth.
Challenge: You run around making sure you have everything in place for others, and you’ve done little or nothing to take care of you.
Tip: Self-care can be simple, small activities that recharge you/your batteries – from sticking to your routine, making sure you get enough quality sleep, being physically active, to including healthy eating. Even just one of these can make a difference to how you feel in a day. Learn more about self-care here.
Challenge: The season comes with many exciting moments and events, but expectations can be high and we sometimes feel the pressure to say yes to everything.
Tip: It’s ok to say no. It’s ok to change plans at the last minute if it means preserving both you and your families’ health and wellness. It can be helpful to schedule in relaxation time, whatever that looks like for you and your family).
Challenge: While the holidays can be an enjoyable season for most families, that is not the case for ALL families. Recent or past loss of a loved one, struggles with physical and mental wellness, distance between those we love and care about, financial pressures, employment loss, negative unhealthy relationships, etc. can have a high emotional toll.
Tip: There are many supports and resources available to help parents/caregivers and families during the holidays if they need some extra support. Connect with BC Children’s Kelty Mental Health Resource Centre.
Warm wishes (and more tips) for the holiday season,
Kelty Centre's Program Manager