Ahhhhh, the holidays. I absolutely love the holiday season. It’s that lovely time of year filled with magic, wonder, excitement, and joy. Unfortunately, there’s a downside too. For both children and parents, the holidays often also come with lots of overwhelm, overstimulation, and dysregulation. Amidst the presents, the wrapping, the baking, the in-laws, and all of the seemingly never-ending holiday to-do’s, how is a parent to keep their sanity?!
Let me ask you a question – what soothes your soul? Maybe it’s yoga or meditation or time for stillness and quiet. Maybe it’s a nice hot bath or a run in the snow. Maybe you’re the kind of person who recharges when you spend time in the company of good friends. Close your eyes and think about it for a minute. What truly makes you feel better when everything feels like chaos?
Have you decided on your soul balm? Ok, great. Now, make MORE time for it. I know that this seems like an impossibility in the middle of the busiest time of the year. And yet, I also know that because this is the busiest time of the year, this is also the time in which taking care of ourselves first is most important.
You know how when you’re on an airplane, the flight attendants tell you, “If you’re traveling with a child, please put your own oxygen mask on first and then help your child?” Well, it’s like that in life too. If you are struggling to manage the frenetic pace of the season and feeling frazzled and off balance, you’re not being the best parent you can be to your little ones. I don’t say that to induce guilt – just to highlight the fact that even in the middle of the craziness, what our children need most is US. When the holidays have come and gone, what children remember is not the amazing gifts from Santa, or the impeccable wrapping jobs, or what was in their stocking. What children remember, is the time they spent with their family. They remember how it felt to make cookies together for Santa and how fun it was to go look at Christmas lights together. What they remember is what they FEEL. Think back to your own Christmas memories? I bet you remember one or two special gifts that you received, but mostly, what you remember is probably how the holidays made you feel. Hopefully you have memories of feelings warm, loved, and cherished. Now, fast forward to the future. When your children look back on this holiday season, what do you want them to remember? How do you want them to remember you?
So, to be that best version of yourself in your relationship with your children this holiday season, it is essential to make time for the things that soothe your own soul and fill your own cup. What might that look like for you? For me, it looks like getting up a whole hour earlier than I normally would. What that time is used for varies depending on the day, but it’s typically a combination of meditation, yoga, journaling, and planning. Not a morning person? Maybe you have time during your lunch break at work or during baby’s nap time to give yourself a few minutes of soul time. If you’re a night owl, maybe you can stay up and savor some time after the little ones are tucked away in bed. There is no one right way to do this, but it is important to figure out what will work for you consistently. Don’t get too caught up in thinking you need a certain amount of time. Don’t have an hour? Start where you are, do what you can. Take 10 minutes or 5 if that’s all you can manage. 5 minutes to just breathe deeply and experience stillness could be so healing in the middle of the holiday busyness.
Slow down. Remind yourself to focus on what is most important. Wishing you the most beautiful, magical, and peaceful holiday season.