Monday, December 7, 2009

#24 Holiday Stress and Joy

What do you do to cope with the stress and joy of the holidays?

We're often so focused on helping our kids cope with the stress of the holidays...the sensory overload, the breaks from routine, the abrupt and unpredictable schedule changes. But what about us? How do we keep our own sanity?

This time of year, I have to make myself very consciously take deep breaths to roll with punches that ordinarily wouldn't require conscious thought. I find myself craving more down time than usual, time alone when people aren't calling for my attention, when I don't need to be "getting things done," when I can feel some peace and simply breathe.

And yet it's precisely the wrong time of year to get more of that sort of time! Especially because I love spending time with family and friends and participating in all the pageantry and tradition of Christmas. I need the peace and quiet, but I need--indeed, crave--the community and activities, too. Finding balance is just harder this time of year.

Prayer helps, but not much else.

What do you do to keep rolling with the punches? What do you need to stay patient and focused?


Canadian Kristin said...

I have found that the best sanity-saver for me is to not think about it. If I start making to do lists, or start thinking about the line of gifts to be figured out and shopped for, or start trying to hard to be Ms. St.ewart with baking and cleaning and such I just start to hyperventilate and then get even less accomplished! Living in the moment and not borrowing trouble from even just a few hours later in that same day do wonders for keeping me feeling capable. And sitting staring at Christmas lights on the tree or through the front window help to when I need to catch my breathe!

JoLynn said...

I surf for sites of other parents who deal with helping their kids with the holiday time. For example, I was completely stressed over my four-year-old son's Christmas program. I read a few blogs from folks in similar circumstances, and realized that this is a process... a roller coaster ride. Each year comes with its own special blend of highs and lows. Despite the fact that my son (very obviously) held in tears the entire time he was on stage (and his parents let them flow freely), he still got to see Santa and tell him he wanted Elefun for Christmas. He still got a candy cane, and walked away fairly unscathed. I give a lot up to God, hoping I am making the right decisions in an ASD world where I wonder if there really IS a "right" decision as a parent.

Susan Raihala said...

Thanks, Kristin and JoLynn for sharing! I, too, sit and stare at Christmas lights, Kristin.

JoLynn, when Jack was 3, we kept him from participating in the Christmas program. During rehearsals, he hid under a pew at the back of the church and cried. We and his teacher felt it wasn't worth the trauma. The next year, however, he STOLE THE SHOW! OMG, he was so happy to be there, so enthusiastic. It's totally amazing what a difference a year can make.

I firmly believe there are no RIGHT decisions, only the best decision you can make at the time you make it with the information you have at hand.

JoLynn said...

Susan, thanks for that story. It was so traumatic for us as parents this year, but it seemed as though Max survived. Gotta roll with it...