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The Holiday Shuffle

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The Holiday Shuffle

We’ve all been there. The topic of holidays can be anxiety provoking. Balancing in-laws and food preferences can bring on a headache just thinking about it. Whether you are trying to strike the perfect balance with your partner or the other co-parent in your life, tensions can get high. Before you reach for the Halloween candy for comfort, try to keep the following in mind:


1. Do not strive for perfection.

In most cases, the idea of making everybody truly happy is just not reality. Around the holidays, everyone has their own idea of what makes the holidays the holidays and they can rarely overlap especially when the individuals are from different families, generations, or upbringings. Accepting that you can only make the best decision for your own smaller family unit is key.

2. Team mindset

If you have a partner, approach the situation with a team mindset versus a me versus them mindset. You are creating traditions for your little ones now and the first family unit that should come first is you, your partner, and your little ones. Discuss what is important for your family unit first. Would you like to have a private time of opening stockings or baking cookies or cinnamon rolls together Christmas Day morning or the day after Christmas? Also, consider the developmental needs of your children and the schedule being presented, and seek to meet them as a team, your partner and yourself. If a healthy coparent relationship is present, you can ideally plan, prioritize, and compromise together.

3. Make time for decompressing and processing

The holidays can be a stressful and even triggering time due to extended family time. Make sure you are scheduling time for yourself to decompress (particularly if you are an introvert). Overexaggerate a nap schedule or drive time or just straight up say you need time away from people. If you need the time, assume your child needs some time as well. The holidays can also bring up grief of loved ones lost or family structure lost (ex. Recent divorce or blended family). Giving yourself time to feel your feelings and honor them is important. Allow yourself space to recall fond memories with your loved one. If it is your co-parent’s holiday with your little one(s), make sure you practice intentionality with your solo time and join an extended family or friend’s party. Don’t just sit at home alone (unless this will truly bring you joy, and all you wanted for Christmas is to read your favorite book or watch your show).


Hopeful Beginnings wishes you wellness as you navigate this busy season!

by Olivia Espinosa

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