Love the holidays but hate the stress?!
The holidays can be a super stressful time of year for many people. I didn't really notice this until I had children and those same children had invisible disabilities and special needs that needed to be managed during the holidays or the results were disastrous, at least in my opinion. I also, learned that birthdays and holidays were triggers for my adopted children who had experienced trauma. Walking through the journey with them, I discovered a few things.
Holidays don't have to be stressful. They can be filled with fun and excitement and tons of enjoyment. Sometimes all we need to do is make a few adjustments.
Here are a few tips, I have learned along this road called life, to make your holidays enjoyable:
Plan ahead - Life functions better when we have a plan, but keep it slightly flexible for the unexpected things that come up. Plan the activities that you and your family want to do. Put them on the calendar. Choose those activities that will be fun for the whole family and the activities that won't cause a meltdown.
Say NO - There are only so many sensory overload activities that kids and sometimes adults can deal with. Sensory activities are everywhere. Christmas lights, holiday music, parades, tree lightings... Just say no to the activities that will be too much to deal with, especially if you are raising children with trauma.
Plan spending - Budget out just how much you want to spend this year. You can even budget for each individual person you are buying for. Gift giving is so much more fun when we don't overspend and there are lots of ways to get creative when planning gifts for others. Create some DIY gifts or homemade treats. You can find my allergy-friendly recipe book HERE for all those on your list with allergies. Create a relaxing environment in your home - This is where your essential oils come in. Diffuse your favorite uplifting oils. My favorites are Madagascar Vanilla and Baking Spice Blend or try Madagascar Vanilla and Wild Orange. You can get them HERE. (FYI: it is more cost effective to open a wholesale account.)
Maintain healthy habits - Drink plenty of water, take time for self-care, eat healthy, take your supplements, use your essential oils, and stick to your routines as much as possible. It is much easier to handle the stresses of the holidays or life when we are healthy and feeling our best.
Respect differences - It is OK to disagree and to let someone else have their opinion. Stay away from discussing "hot" topics at family gatherings.
Be encouraging - Compliment another person, share encouraging words, do a small act of kindness. Everyone around us is also facing holiday stress, be the one to lift others up.
Live in a space of gratitude - Gratitude is a powerful emotion and shapes how we look at life and circumstances. Being thankful and grateful in the small things and big things brings us peace in our hearts and allows us to see the blessings all around. Do you like to journal? My new Joy in the Journey gratitude journal might be just what you are looking for. It is filled with scripture, journal space, and essential oil recipes. CHECK IT OUT.
Embrace the Reason for the Season - While that may sound like a marketing slogan, we don't want to forget why we have Christmas to start with. Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth of Christ and that He came to this earth to by our Savior. Share the Christmas story with you children, make a birthday cake for Jesus, and visit a live nativity. There are so many ways to celebrate and give to others.
Create new and fun traditions - Traditions keep us grounded and help us to look forward to something fun and special. Our kids love to go to the light displays in our town each year. They look forward to that all year long and it is usually one of the first things we do each holiday season. Traditions can be as simple as that.
Keep dinners simple - I know it is super fun to make the big meal with all the trimmings but that does cause extra stress and a lot of clean up. Create a simple meal or meal tradition that is not as much work for mom. Instead of a big turkey or ham dinner, try a potluck or finger foods or maybe foods that can be prepared ahead of time.
Be realistic - Know when enough is enough with yourself and your kids. Divert their attention to something calming before their emotions and yours get out of control.
Most of all enjoy the Christmas season! It truly is my favorite time of year!
Are you an adoptive mom and could use a little extra support raising your child with big emotions? CLICK HERE
to learn more.