Family Matters #29: Stress and the Holidays

By Lucia Ferrara

Traditions, family, and holidays are important and these days, especially important. In the last year and a half, we have realized that family comes first. The pandemic, I believe has shown us that we need to slow down, and take a break from the activities of daily living that cause us stress and anxiety.

The hustle and bustle of the holidays do not make our stress levels any better. In fact, an article in Psychology Today, cites a study from the American Psychological Association that found “thirty-eight percent of people surveyed said that their stress level increased during the holiday season.” I know from personal experience that my top stressors are usually the pressure of gift-giving, lack of time and money, family gatherings, and commercialism.

I am positive that you too have experienced some of the same stressors during the holiday season. Let us look at how we can overcome this overwhelming feeling of tension during what is supposed to be the most magical time of the year!

All the articles in the Family Matters series are available here.

Some strategies that can help you and your family during the holiday season include time management. Organize your time and pace yourself. Do not take on any more than you can. Be realistic on what you are capable of and know that it is okay to say no.

Take time out for yourself. Mothers especially tend to be the point of reference for everything and everyone. So, make yourself a priority and do something you like to do. For example, going to the library to read, walking a trail at a park, or listening to your favorite CD while taking a bubble bath. Prioritize your sleep because if you do not get enough of it your body will be run down and so will your immune system.

More importantly, remember to keep yourself and your children well hydrated. Healthy diets are encouraged. Because we all know that Grandmas’ pies are hard to resist!

Make a budget. Budgeting for the holiday season can start as early as when the previous season is over!! Each month put a little money away if you can and make a list of items you will need for gifts and food during that time. Please stick to it, this prevents overspending and buying things you do not need.

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Moreover, disconnecting from social media and screens is important. We can easily become couch potatoes during this time of year because it is cold outside. Do not let that stop you if you can. Take time to go to the local shopping mall and walk around, or even find a community center where there are activities for the entire family to engage in. Exercise is important all year round!

Remember that your family’s well-being is far more important than any gift you bought from Macy’s. We must remember that family is the most important concept during this magical time of year. Quality time spent together will never be forgotten and great memories last a lifetime. So, make your season one full of joy, health, and happiness with your and friends!

[Lucia Ferrara is the Director of Hospitality at Precious Blood Renewal Center and the lead organizer here of Parent Cafes. Share your thoughts with Lucia or ask her questions by using the form below or sending an email to Read more about the Parent Café here.]

Photo 61851109 / Holiday Stress © Cunaplus |

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