Navigating Holiday Challenges
Overcoming The Absence Of A Family Member
The loss or absence of a friend or family member, especially a parent, can become an emotional focal point during the holiday season, and addressing it is never easy.
Have conversations with your children about the upcoming holidays. This is a great opportunity to learn about the traditions the children celebrated in their homes previously, as well as an opportunity for you to share yours. Having this conversation ahead of time helps reduce the child’s anxiety and provides security in knowing what to expect.
Help connect your children with family members and friends that were frequently a major part of their holiday celebrations. Be mindful of any orders from the CYFD/courts and practicing safe social distancing.
Gauge where your child’s emotional stage. Check in and monitor your child’s emotions. Do the holidays seem too overwhelming ? Perhaps you might need to have a low-key holiday as children are adjusting to being in a new home and celebrating the holidays without their parents.
Make space for sadness and grief. Talk to your child about their feelings throughout the season. Let them know it’s natural to feel sad when family members are not there for the holidays and that you are here to support them.
Celebrate your family in the moment. Acknowledge sadness when family members are not able to be apart of your holidays, but still celebrate. This may include creating new traditions with your family while honoring past ones.
Dealing With Holiday Stress
Everybody is looking forward to special celebrations with family and friends but planing and organizing the events of a holiday season can leave us feeling anxious and overwhelmed. Don’t let the stress overshadow the good times.
Holidays are a time for reconnection. Look for opportunities to reconnect with things that truly matter.
Focus on self-care. Find time to rest and relax. Get enough sleep, eat and drink in moderation.
Connect with people you enjoy. Video chat and call family member and friends, and write a card or letter.
Perform an act of kindness. Spending time with or helping someone else can lift your spirits.
Plan gifts early this year. Relieve pressure and avoid last minute gift shopping scrambles.
Give yourself permission to decline events. Don’t take on too much and don’t be afraid to let others know when things are getting too much.
Bergman, Lindsey (2019). Six tips for good mental health this holiday season
Managing Holiday Spending
Taking care of additional family members can put burden holiday budgets. Remember, your most valuable gift is your time. There is nothing more meaningful than taking time to spend with your child and creating memories. Here are a few tips to help manage the financial stress:
- Set holiday spending limits
- Be realistic about your budget and make a plan
- Price check with your phone
- Use coupons
- Know the truth about Black Friday and Cyber Monday
- Stay on top of your spending
- Try to avoid shopping sprees
- Build better spending habits
- Make your own gifts
- Factor in shipping
If you’re concerned about yourself or a loved one’s mental health, you are not alone. The New Mexico Behavioral Health Crisis Line is available 24/7 and is operated by a licensed clinician. 1-855-662-7474.