Managing “Holiday Stress” for Busy Parents

Is the holiday season really “the most wonderful time of the year,” as the old song says?Well, maybe — though more than 60 percent of people surveyed by Healthline reported that their stress levels surrounding the holidays are either “somewhat” or “very” elevated. Research shows that holiday stressors start the second week of December, with pressures around shopping (and knowing what to get people), dealing with crowds and cleaning at the top of the stress list. According to studies, feeling stressed during the holidays doesn’t let up until we sit down for holiday dinners!

While festivities bring joy, for parents the pressures of the holiday season may be especially difficult and stressful. As members of the “sandwich generation,” it can be a challenge to juggle the needs of both younger and older family members. Between the holiday season’s additional expenses, responsibilities and demands on precious time, it can be hard to find a way to recharge.

First 5 LA has you covered! Here are ways to manage “festivity stress” this holiday season (without eating a dozen cookies at one sitting!):

  • Walk and talk. Connect with a friend or neighbor and get moving, or go solo. But go! Even 30 minutes of brisk walking can help lower stress levels.
  • Try acupressure. To relieve stress, grab the fleshy space between your index finger and thumb — called the hoku point in traditional Chinese medicine — and squeeze for 30 seconds.
  • Give yourself a phone break. Whether you are running errands or trying to relax at home, consciously putting down your phone removes one more thing that demands attention. Simplify by taking a break and a deep breath.
  • Consider holiday traditions. Take a step back and consider what you and your family get out of certain traditions. Are they worth doing, or are they not? If you feel angry and obligated, chances are they won’t be fun for anyone. Perhaps trying something a little different that makes you happier is worth a try.
  • Give yourself a gift. What do you want most for yourself? This holiday season, consider doing something for yourself that benefits you emotionally, physically, mentally. Remember, you are worth it!
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