Nov 1, 2019

3 Ways To Manage Your Family's Stress During The Holidays


The holiday season is around the corner, and for many of us, the holidays can bring an increased sense of family responsibility and stress. It's easy to feel overwhelmed when advertisements sing about the joys of the season while we're struggling to budget for gifts, food, and travel.
To help you avoid turning to unhealthy stress management behaviors like overindulging in sugar cookies, here are a few ways you can manage holiday stress as a family this year.


Don't try to please everyone

According to Dr. Susan Newman, a social psychology professor at Rutgers University, one of the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season is having unrealistic expectations.
Some parents want to be sure their children get everything they want so there will be no tears," said Newman. "This is an unrealistic goal. Parents, especially with younger kids get lost in the hype."
Manage your expectations and don't try to please everyone. You can't keep everyone happy all the time. Remember that your kids will enjoy and remember the little things like playing hide and seek with their cousins or board games with you.


Prepare your kids for changes in routine

Kids thrive on routines. Unfortunately, the holidays can disrupt your family's regular schedule. Routine disruptions can be unsettling for your kids, resulting in tantrums and meltdowns.
By preparing for changes in your kids' routines such as letting them know what they can expect and what you expect of them, you can help everyone keep a cool head. Bring familiar books and toys if you're traveling and have quiet one-on-one time with your kids before bed to make them feel comfortable.

Look for ways to make extra cash ahead of the holiday season

Up to 50% of Americans will take four months or more to pay off the debt they accumulate during the holiday season. To avoid digging yourself a financial grave, consider looking for ways to make extra cash ahead of the holiday season so you have some extra money for when you need it most.
There are a few ways you can make some extra cash including:
  • Selling old stuff. If you've been decluttering your home and your kids' rooms, consider putting some of the items you no longer use up for sale on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. Certain kids stores have buy-back programs, too, where you can bring in used clothing and toys for cash.
  • Taking on a temporary part-time job. In 2016 alone, up to 570,000 people were hired by retailers for the holiday season. With 28 million small businesses operating in the U.S. right now, you can find a temporary part-time job to make some extra money before the holiday season arrives.
  • Write or edit resumes for other people. If you have a computer and WiFi at home, you can make some extra money as a freelance resume writer. Research suggests that over 50% of job applicants embellish their resume to obtain a job. However, employers who are screening applicants for false information or criminal history (90% of people who post bail can avoid a criminal record) will cross these applicants off their list. You can help people write great resumes and get hired without falsifying any information.
  • Working overtime. Working overtime isn't ideal, but it's a viable option to consider when you're looking to sock away some extra money for the holidays. If your employer offers overtime, consider using it to get those special overtime rates and to catch up on end-of-the-year projects.
The holidays can be overwhelming for everyone, but especially for parents. By following the tips above, you can manage your sense of family responsibility and focus more on experiencing holiday cheer instead of holiday stress.

Devin is a writer and an avid reader. When she isn't lost in a book or writing, she's busy in the kitchen trying to perfect her slow cooker recipes. You can find her poetry published in The Adirondack Review and Cartridge Lit.

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