The holiday season can be a doozy. It's a season of so many social gatherings, big events, new experiences, high-highs, and maybe some low-lows. It can be a lot.
The past few years, maybe not even intentionally, I have started to navigate this season with one main goal in mind: get through it tantrum-free.
For my little guy. I've found simple tactics and rules-of-thumb to try to create an enjoyable holiday season for my son without creating too much extra chaos. And then it hit me. Us parents are so mindful at protecting our child's peace during these crazy times of year...why not apply the same self-care practices to our own lives?
So here are my Holiday Self-Care Strategies I have found helpful for my preschooler, that you may, in fact, find surprisingly helpful for yourself as well!
Know What's Coming. Prep yourself before an event or new experience. Learn about all the details ahead of time, so you can anticipate what you might need to bring to make yourself more comfortable. Talk about the event a few days leading up to it, so that when the day comes, you are ready and excited, but not overwhelmed with surprise. You feel prepared!
Have Snacks Handy. Find a bar you like, or have a sandwich bag of crackers somewhere nearby. Keep them in the car, your purse...worst case, you throw them out 5 months later when you find them cleaning. Best case, they save you in the middle of a hanger emergency. Bonus tip: We "pre-game" before events, at least eating a small snack. Even if you're heading somewhere with food, don't arrive hungry...just in case you're not a fan of the spread or things get started a little bit later.
Nature Breaks. As it gets colder outside, we of course tend to stay inside more. Try to get outside at least 20 minutes each day. If you find yourself getting stressed out or squirrelly, a quick fresh air break can really reset the mood.
Keep The Routine. During the holidays, or a winter break, our daily routines can get really messed up. Try your best to stick to your usual morning/night routines. Your sleep will be better, and it just keeps a level of calm we all need during this time.
Find Someone to Help. Sometimes I will give my little guy a special job at a event, like giving the hostess a gift or sharing a toy with a friend. I think it helps to give him something positive to focus on, outside of himself, and seems to get things kicked-off in an uplifting way. This can be the same for us, too! Figure out a way to help or be of-service where you are going.
Don't Put All the Focus on Treats...and Enjoy! I try my *best* not to police what my little guy is eating this time of year. It's part of the experience, right? And just a part of it. Try not to put so much emphasis on the goodies you are consuming this year. Enjoy them!
Wishing you and your family a truly happy holiday season. It is such a magical time to make special memories...try to slow down and enjoy them. And when it doubt, or if things don't go as planned, give yourself lots and lots of grace. The messy stuff can be magical too, if we let it;)