Holidays should provide time for rest, relaxation

Holidays should provide time for rest, relaxation

THE ISSUE: Over-scheduling too many activities leaves many people frantic.

OUR VIEW: Prioritize time to be spent with those people who are most important in one’s life.

The holidays. For many people these two words bring much stress in what should be a joyous time of year. There are gifts to purchase which is often accompanied by financial stress, food to prepare, the anxiety that holiday house guests bring, parties to attend, cards to mail, and the list goes on. The over-scheduling of a myriad of activities quickly can zap the holiday spirit of even the diehard holiday lovers.

Fortunately, help can be found for those overwhelmed with a lack of time and holiday spirit.  Experts recommend the prioritization of what is truly important in one’s life and what will make lasting pleasant holiday memories. Recognize the fact that this will mean different things for each person and do not be quick to assume that one should follow in someone else’s path.

The National Parent Teacher Organization (PTA) offers this advice for parents whose children are on holiday break from school. “Research shows that families who spend quality time together and connect activities at home to what children are learning in school have a stronger emotional bond and better communication—and the kids do better academically. The holiday season also provides great opportunities to expose children to new ideas and information, reinforces skills and knowledge, and encourages creativity, which supports their success in school.”

Keep in mind that the latest video games may not be the overall best choice for children. Many a new parent remembers their child having much more fun playing with the box that the gift came in than the gift itself. Even though children are older and require more stimulation of their senses, one should not assume that it has to be the latest electronic game to fit that bill.  Studies have shown that children desire quality time with their parents, particularly those who both work outside the home. Let the holidays allow parents to step back from the normal routine to engage with children in creative ways.

Playing board games, cooking together, and going on outings within one’s local area all offer individuals and families the opportunity to enjoy one’s company and to learn new skills. The Christmas lighting displays around one’s hometown or surrounding local area offer the perfect time to share favorites and make new memories. Winter brings its own fun outdoors with snow, skating, and just playing in one’s own yard. If the weather is inclement, consider a trip to the library for some new books or other offerings.

Having a budget for holiday spending is helpful and keeps unwanted spending to a minimum. Resist the urge to disregard the budget and consider saving for holiday spending by utilizing a Christmas club savings program offered by many local financial institutions.

Recognize also that the holidays are not a happy time for everyone. Unfortunately, many persons find the holidays quite depressing due to the loss of loved ones, mental health issues, or not having had memorable holiday memories previously.  Take the opportunity to offer support if possible, but also recognize that these individuals may truly want to be left alone. Resist the urge to try to encourage them to be happy, rather simply be present to listen and offer help if requested.

By prioritizing one’s time and not being in a constant state of panic leading up to the season of Christmas, the holidays can provide lasting memories and joy.