Good morning. Whether you celebrate the holidays or not, this time of the year can come with some unusually stressful moments that do not necessarily happen at other times of the year. Also, even though this is supposed to be a “wonderful” time of the year, it is also a stressful time (keep in mind, not all stress is bad) Here are some ways to manage stress during the “most wonderful time of the year.”
1. Unhook yourself from unrealistic expectations and standards.
Family gatherings, presents, cards, cookies, decorations, family photos - those don’t have to be perfect. It is okay if they are actually kind of terrible, in fact, because life is not perfect. Holidays do not change that.
2. Connect with feelings of sadness or anger over unmet expectations.
It is okay if you are angry, sad or frustrated because something did not go the way you hoped it would. It is okay to be disappointed. Release yourself from the pressure to act like everything is happy and perfect just because it is the holidays.
3. State your boundaries clearly and SOON.
Let others know what they can expect from you. “We would love to see you on this day but we have to do XYZ instead. We are so sad to miss it.” Be clear and firm. And remind yourself that boundaries are not unkind - but that it is kind to yourself (and others!) to set healthy boundaries.
4. Have a plan for your boundaries that are not respected.
You say you need space and people show up on your front stoop- what are you going to do? Plan for it! Maybe it means making an appointment with your counselor to prepare or asking a friend for coffee to talk through your options.
As always, if you have any questions about your child(ren)’s mental health, please feel free to contact your Bethel SEAC Team.