Caregivers’ Guide to Navigating Holidays

If you’ve ever traveled by plane, you know flight attendants direct parents, in the event of an emergency, to put their oxygen masks on before helping their little ones do the same. It may seem counterintuitive, but the reality is we are more capable of taking care of others when our own needs have been met.

To bring energy to our caretaking roles, adults need to find ways to recharge, and this becomes especially important during the holidays when hectic schedules become even more hectic. Denise Kleinman, Parents’ Climate Community member and local parent coach at Tap Intuition, has some tips for managing holiday stress:

  • Decide what brings you joy and don’t overcommit. Do you really like Trail of Lights or do you feel obligated to provide your kids with a specific experience? Decide as a family what makes holidays special and if there are competing votes, allow everyone to pick one holiday activity and spread them out over a period of days or weeks.
    • If you’re celebrating with extended family, stay committed to your values. Can you discuss what a meaningful gift exchange looks like that includes fewer plastic toys or supports local businesses or charities instead? Be clear on what balance is important for your family even if others choose a consumer-forward approach.
      • Find time to connect to a sense of wonder, gratitude, and humor. Pick a time each day to focus a few moments on your inner self, perhaps over morning coffee or on a walk. Post a note to your mirror that reflects your highest priorities for the season to counter overwhelm or stress, such as ‘I invite gratitude into my heart every day,’ ‘I give myself permission to set boundaries that bring me peace,’ or ‘I am content with simplicity.’

      Whether you’re busy with holiday parties and family gatherings or managing a mess of sprinkles and icing creating cookie masterpieces, you can safely navigate this season with your principles (and your sanity) intact by taking a little time to take care of yourself.

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