Managing Family Stress during the Holiday Season
By Gavin Lewis
In our family, the Catholic faith plays a central role in navigating holiday stress, providing a spiritual anchor during the hustle and bustle. We integrate holiday-specific prayer into our daily routine, seeking guidance during the holiday season, especially with the diverse range of ages among our four children.
One strategy my wife and I have found effective is establishing clear communications channels. We gather as a family and discuss our expectations for the holiday season, addressing concerns and wishes of each family member. This allows a sense of shared responsibility and minimizes misunderstandings.
To cater to our college-age son’s need for independence, we encourage him to actively participate in planning family activities – ensuring his input is valued. For our high school-age daughter, who juggles academic and extra-curricular pressures, we create a quiet space where she can decompress. The younger girls, who are still somewhat caught up in the magic of the season, benefit by taking a greek from everyday schoolwork, relaxing and watching holiday movies.
Flexibility is key in managing the diverse needs of our children during this hectic time. We have learned to balance traditions with an openness to change, accommodating evolving schedules and preferences.
As parents, we prioritize self-care to maintain resilience in the face of stress – modeling healthy coping mechanisms for our kids.
By instilling a sense of shared responsibility, embracing flexibility and prioritizing self-care, we have been able to create a holiday atmosphere that caters to the unique needs of each family member, fostering a harmonious and joyous season for everyone. Through prayer, reflection and the wisdom of biblical verses, we find a source of resilience and unity that transcends the stresses of the season, enriching our holiday experience with deeper, spiritual connection.