Stress busting tactics for the whole family

by Julie Snyder

Stress busters for holidayThe holidays tend to be hectic for everyone. Kids are being constantly shuffled about. Everyone's routine changes to accomodate all the extracurricular activities.

Parents feel pressure to pull off the "best holiday ever" while continuing to pay bills, meet work deadlines, and squeeze in time to decorate, bake, shop, wrap, go to parties, host gatherings and help out in the community. Whew!

Reality may not meet your expectations. Is your Christmas tree lopsided, your Santa and sleigh on the front lawn deflated and your dog keeps peeing on the nativity scene? Has dealing with holiday stress hopped to the top of your list?

Everyone has their own remedy for stress but there is always room for more. Try these stress busters on for size. They might make your holidays a bit easier to deal with.

Stress busting tactics for the whole family

Eat healthy: Certain foods help alleviate stress. Oatmeal with cinnamon, sweet potatoes, almonds, oranges and cranberries all have a stress busting reputation. Just keeping it healthy goes a long way toward maintaining a stress-free holiday season.

Exercise: Staying fit and moving around will not only help bust up stress but will keep you in shape as well. Take a hike, gather up the family and walk your area to look at lights.

Get a good night's sleep: No matter what's going on, try to get to bed at your normal time. Getting your required amount of sleep will help you be able to deal with whatever comes up while holiday planning.

Stick to your routine: Little kids thrive on the predictable. During the holidays tots may miss naps, bedtime, meals and the rituals that help them stride calmly through the day. As much as possible, keep your child on a regular schedule.

Plan ahead: Planning and scheduling makes everything easier. When winter break comes around, it throws a wrench into everyone's schedule. Figure out daily activities so that everyone's not under foot. It's a win-win situation when you can plan for them to make ornaments, cookies, or homemade gifts for family and friends.

Don't expect perfection: It doesn't happen. Enjoy this time with your family. Make cookies, listen to holiday music, if you have a fireplace build a fire and make homemade hot cocoa. The tree will be fine, even if it is lopsided or half the lights don't blink. The dinner will come together wonderfully even if Aunt Jane can't stand to be in the same room with your mother.

There are many ways you can relieve your stress. The reason for this season is to enjoy your family and friends. Soak in the love and fellowship that comes with the many dinners. It’s about the family you cherish and time spent with them.

If you're hosting dinner this year, it may not feel like your house will ever be the same but stop, look around and listen to the sounds of laughter, happiness and love that is running through your home. Tomorrow is another day, enjoy today while it is here…remember it only comes once a year.

What's your toughest challenge this holiday season? What made it all work for you?

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.