For moms in Savannah and the Coastal Empire

Keys for reducing stress over the holidays are especially important for families with LD and ADHD!

It’s true for most families that the time from Thanksgiving through the holiday season and into the New Year is the most stressful time of the year.  This is not surprising considering the added planning and organizational demands; the expanded social calendar; the change in school and home routines; the consumption of more food and alcohol (most with more sugar and fats); the increased spending and worries about money; less time to exercise and the added pressures and worries that only large family gatherings can bring:) 

If this is true for even the most physically and mentally healthy amongst us, think about how individuals with Learning Disabilities and/or Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, both children and adults, must feel!

What can we do to try to keep things in balance and perspective over the next few weeks? Here are three suggestions to keep in mind:

First, try to maintain as much of your regular household structure and routine as possible, especially for the children.  Stick to their regular bed times, wake times and meal times as much as you can.  Consistency is key.  If your routine does de-rail, get it back on track as quickly as possible. If you don’t get out of sync now, the transition back to the realities of life following all the celebration will be much, much easier come that first day back to school and work!

Be realistic!  Whether it is in your meal planning, gift giving or party going, moderation is key #2.  Make conscious choices about what you do want and do not want to do this holiday season.  Don’t get caught up in all the expectations and “shoulds” that go with the holidays.  You get to decide what the holiday means to you and your family.  Keep it reasonable, within your budget and with your children and their needs in mind. 

The third key to surviving the holiday season is to make time for yourself.  Spend some quiet time doing what makes you happy and at peace.  Take a walk, take a bath, take a nap….  Take time out of the holiday rush to spend some time alone with your spouse and children.  Give yourself permission to not go, do, or be what everyone else wants you to. 

What do you do that helps you stay on track throughout the holiday season?  Do you have a suggestion for managing your stress that you’d like to share?  Please let us know what works for you—it just may work for us, too!

Best wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving!

Laurel

 

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I agree!

Laurel,

I agree on both your key points.  I try to keep my kids on the same basic schedule they're always on regarding bed times and meal times.  They wake up at the crack of dawn no matter what day it is, so making sure they get to bed on time is crucial.  We relax the times some days, depending on what's happening, but not too much and we always get back on track the week before school starts back.  Keeping up with school skills is important, too, even during a short break.  This year, my son's teacher sent home extra math work and goals for what should be known by the end of the break.  It worked out well when we scheduled a little bit of time to do this almost every day.  Then he could still enjoy his freedom without losing what he learned.

I also keep my son on his medication 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  This way, neither of us has to get used to it again and he stays consistent.  He might take it later in the morning if we sleep late, but that's usually when he won't be around anyone else but family.

We definitely believe in moderation so sweets are limited, even on Christmas, but still enjoyed.  The boys were happy with their presents this year, even though there weren't as many as in years past.  They were content to have family around them so at least they understand that!

My suggestion for managing stress is to take one day at a time, sometimes just one task at a time.  Even focusing on one breath at a time is crucial to me not flipping out during Christmas or any other time during the year when I feel overwhelmed.  Count to 10, deep breaths, walk away from the situation for a few minutes are all standards that work for me.

Thanks,

Jenifer Paul