Helpful tips to manage holiday stress this year
The holiday season is right around the corner, increasing the amount of stress of individuals. Decisions have to be made as to when, how and with whom various holidays will be observed.
Not only do adults go through stressful times finding the appropriate gifts, last minute shopping, organizing or the stress of not being able to provide what they would like to their loved ones; children and all family members also suffer from stress.
In fact, a recent study from the American Psychological Association shows that three-quarters of Americans experience a higher stress level this time of year.
In addition, that 91 percent of children can tell when their parents are stressed out, and parents often underestimate how much their own stress can affect their children. A stressful environment produces stress in children.
The sights and sounds of the holidays can be stressful and over-stimulating for children and adults, especially if they have autism and/or social phobias, depression, or grief and loss.
Expectations for holidays can run very high, and can trigger a lot of worries and fears. Anxiety lives in the thoughts of “what if ...?”
What if this or that doesn't turn out right? What if someone doesn't like their gift? What if everything isn't ready on time?
There are some steps people can take to enjoy the holidays without worry.
• Slow down and take time out for yourself.
• Focus on family, not material things.
• Seek counseling if needed.
• Volunteer for charities.
• Be realistic about spending.
• Plan ahead.
• Avoid taking your children shopping, especially when there are many people around.
• Set a routine with your family members when it comes to decorating, cooking or other daily routines.
• Give your child options in how they would like to decorate.
Remember, the holidays are a time to be happy, thankful, and free from stress.
Curtis Peterson is a professor and violence prevention coordinator at Arizona Western College. Jose Amparo is a child and family therapist at Easter Seals Blake Foundation. They can be reached at email@example.com.