Christmas socks on feet in front of tree

Making Time to Relax

By mid-December, many people are already a bit overdosed on holiday cheer. A constant stream of ads, crowds, and sugar highs is particularly challenging if your children are prone to meltdowns in the face of overstimulation. Perhaps you’re feeling on the edge of meltdown yourself.

However much you need a break, the world isn’t going to stop for you. You hold ultimate responsibility for setting your own limits.

Time Off from Parenting

It’s hard being a parent during school vacations, especially when your kids are ultra-sensitive to changes in routine. You deserve some extra “me time.”

  • Give your kids a good activity book, holiday playlist, video, game, etc., and excuse yourself for an hour of napping or reading. To lessen chances of the kids getting impatient and interrupting you, ask them to help you do this right: set a timer where they can see it, and give them the job of calling you when your break time is up.
  • Ask your spouse/partner or a caretaker to watch the kids while you go for a long walk, hot latte, or spa treatment. Alternatively, get someone else to take the kids out while you relax at home.
  • Make a weekly/daily date to do something you enjoy, and put it on your calendar as an appointment to keep. This works best when everyone in the household stays aware of your plans (and vice versa), so use a shared calendar app that everyone can access from their personal devices.

Important: do not use your “me time” to squeeze in extra chores. This is a time to relax and recharge, to get back in the “joyful season” spirit and replenish yourself to appreciate your family more.

How to Relax

It may feel that you’ve been in “perpetual motion” for so long, you can’t relax even when you have space for it. Don’t despair: relaxation, like anything else, improves with practice. Here are a few ideas for getting started.

  • Use a guided-meditation app to shift your brain into “relaxed” mode. Or try a yoga app, prayer book, or instrumental-music playlist.
  • Meditate on the “reason for the season.” You can use a lighted menorah, candle, or tree as an aid.
  • Weather permitting, take a long stroll (or a long sit) in the park. Connecting with nature has multiple benefits.
  • Make your favorite drink or light snack, and consume it slowly. Pay full attention to the flavor, texture, and temperature. If it’s a melt-in-your-mouth treat, let it melt; don’t short-circuit the experience by biting down.
  • Create a free-flow piece of art in any medium: pencil and paper, doodling app, watercolor, modeling clay, snow sculpture! Don’t worry about making it “pretty” or “realistic”; just let your hands go where they will.
  • Spend some time journaling.
  • Write a story or free-verse poem.

Wishing you and yours a joyful, peaceful holiday season!

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