December 7, 2010

Reducing Your Holiday Stress

As a work at home mom I know how important and stressful managing your time can be.  With work , kids activities, taking care of your home, and family time.  Around the holidays it seems like we have even less time for everything.  From Thanksgiving through New Years the time just seems to fly!  Our lives become crazy and even more stressful.  Here are ten ideas for helping reduce that Holiday stress.

  1. Take time for you.  Making time each day to do something you enjoy is important to your mental well being.  Because we all know that if Mom's not happy, no one is.  So go ahead and indulge; read a book, watch a movie, take a bath, take a walk, do some yoga, or just sit back with your feet up and relax.
  2. Keep the kitchen clean.  This is actually something I learned from my mom.  Nothing makes me say "grrr" like seeing the sink overflowing with dishes and the counter tops a mess.  I know I'm going to have a good day when I wake up and walk into a clean kitchen.  So if during this crazy season, you're unable to find the time to keep your house spotless, at least make sure the kitchen looks nice.
  3. Lists are a life saver.  Sometimes I feel like my brain is made of swiss cheese.  I write down everything that needs to be done.  If it doesn't go on my list it doesn't usually get done.  During the holidays this is super important to stay organized.
  4. Enlist the kids.  You've have more going on during the holidays, so get your kids to help out.  They can pick up an extra chore, help you decorate, and help with baking.  Older children can help out with wrapping presents.  Even toddlers and preschool aged children can help with simple jobs.
  5. Stick to the rules.  With your busy schedule it's easy to relax the house rules.  Now it's more important than ever to keep things the same.  Kids need structure and rules, so they know what is expected of them.  When you let them "get away" with breaking the rules during the holidays because you're busy, they don't know what to expect.  This makes your job as mom harder.
  6. Prioritize holiday invites.  It seems if everyone you know is having a holiday party and you're invited.  It's impossible to make every party, especially with kids or finding a sitter.  Our family tries to split our time between both sides of the family.  We usually decline other holiday invites or stop by for a brief appearence. 
  7. Stick to your budget.  Kids want every new toy that comes out.  We have our kids make wish lists, which we share with family who like to buy for them.  The kids know they won't get everything on their list and we can work with our budget to get items our kids will like.  If you have a large family on one side or both, setting up a "Secret Santa" or Yankee Swap helps everyones budget.
  8. Sleep.  I know how hard it is to stick to a regular sleep schedule when you have extra things to do during the holidays.  But if you're not getting enough sleep at night, you'll become cranky, irratable, and run down.
  9. Laugh, dance, and have fun.  Laughter is a great stress reducer.  Play with your kids or sit down together and watch a funny holiday movie.  Throw some holiday music on and dance around with your kids.  Little ones love to play and have fun and they often do the funniest things.  My older children make me smile when I can tell they're enjoying family time (even if they didn't want to).
  10. Remember the reason for the season. And teach it to your children. The holidays are not about how much stuff you can buy for others.  It's not about who's house has the best decorations or how many parties you go to.  Be thankful for everything you have and help others who are less fortunate than you.  Family is important, so enjoy the time you have with them (even the ones you don't really like). 
I hope this holiday season you and your family are happy, healthy, and have lots of fun!

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