The best part about the holidays is all the time spent with family and friends. This can also be one of the more stressful parts of the holidays too. There is a lot of schedule coordinating, cooking, gifting and traveling — it’s no wonder family drama often ensues. Once you have a baby all of this craziness seems to double. Here are some tips for avoiding holiday stress and drama from moms who have been through it!
Here are my tips for surviving the holiday craziness:
- Manage expectations –Use open communication and be honest about your holiday plans. If you family and friends know what to expect they won’t have mismatched expectations that you will do more or less. This will help you feel more confident about your holiday plans.
- Be consistent — Decide on a schedule and do it every year. It’s all about precedent setting. For example, if your family lives in different states like ours does maybe you do Thanksgiving in one place and Christmas in the other. Maybe you alternate every other year. By managing expectations and being consistent others won’t be surprised or upset when you make plans or can’t attend an event.
- Don’t take on too much — I am so guilty of this. I try to go above and beyond for everything I do. However, when I am up until 2am cooking and wrapping gifts then have to be up at 6am with a baby it’s not a very good day for anyone. Your family and friends will understand if can’t get to something or everything isn’t perfect.
- Don’t be afraid to say no — You do not have to attend every single party or family function to which you are invited. You also don’t have to provide every side dish. This goes back to managing expectations.
- Make time for yourself — Whether it’s a yoga class, a run around the block, a movie or even just an hour doing whatever you love by yourself — do it! If you are constantly focusing on everyone and everything but yourself you will run yourself down and end up stressed, on edge, or even sick. That will make everything you have to do seem so much worse.
- Forget the drama — All families have their drama. It can be amplified during the holidays when stress is running high and you might be around your family a lot more than usual. The best way to avoid it is to stay away from hot button topics and stay out of the drama if it doesn’t involve you.
Since this is my first full holiday season with a baby, and because Aiden was only three weeks old at Christmas last year (AKA Christmas was a total chaotic blur), I reached out to some of my blogger friends to see if they had any advice. Of course, they had great advice! I am so excited they agreed to share it with you:
My number one tip: shopping online! From Christmas pajamas to stocking stuffers to gifts for family, I make all of my purchases online. It helps me shop around for the best price, stick to my shopping list, and most importantly–spend more time celebrating the season.
My number one tip to avoid holiday stress is PLAN AHEAD! I’ve already started my holiday shopping lists so that I can work ahead of time this year and not feel the pressure to splurge on last minute gifts. Also having your significant other involved is a huge help — I task my husband with helping to purchase certain gifts and it takes all of the stress off of me.
It’s okay to “forget” something at the grocery store for an extra 45 minutes to yourself. Escaping is okay. Don’t let your emotions get to the point where you are about to boil over; leave! Just head for the door and go get that “stuffing”!
Also, alcohol is a good thing 😉 . Not in excess; but it is great to help you laugh at the situation you are in. I have a system for this.
- Before 11am: it’s champagne or spiked coffee!!
- Between 11am-5pm: try a blended delicious beverage- the coldness will give you a little boost!
- With & after dinner: Whiskey and coke! Goes great with protein and the Coke will help that turkey Tryptophan from sleepy time!
- When everyone goes home: Deep red wine. It will relax you and make you a little frisky. Every mama and dada need some frisky after a holiday dinner!
Enjoy these tips! Use them wisely and don’t forget, it’s over before you know it. Soak it up and breathe!
The holidays can be stressful for so many reasons, so this is a great time to limit other stress as much as you can, such as having an over-packed schedule. Maybe you don’t host the December book club, or you put off your urge to clean the closet until January. These tasks and events may be important, but decide if they’re important right now. It’s okay to say no to some things, because this allows you to say yes to what you’re really excited about. And then, you’re more likely to enjoy these events and gatherings, feeling less stress because you’re not overwhelmed with a packed calendar, and you don’t find yourself in situations you wish you declined in the first place!
Make a list of “must-dos” and “would love to dos”, then you can work on checking those things off one at a time. Set a budget. Money can be stressful this time of year so set a budget that won’t put you in a lurch, then work with what you have. Research Pinterest and blogs to find a variety of ways to make Christmas special without spending a ton of money. Remember that the holidays are about family, so make sure you carve out some time to sit by the fire, drink some cocoa, play some games and talk about what is going on in each others lives.
If you can, try to start each morning with something that is calming and makes you happy. This is especially important during the holidays when there is more to do and life seems to get just a bit more stressful. But knowing when you hop out of bed, you have those 15 minutes or so each and every day will make it easier. Maybe it’s a hot cup of coffee, or a quick yoga DVD. No matter what, it starts the day off on a happier, calmer note even if it means a few less minutes of sleep before the family’s days start.
How do you avoid holiday stress and drama? Share your thoughts in the comments.