The little book with BIG resources!

25 Tips For Managing Holiday Stress

Christmas Eve is upon us here in the metro area and, if you’re anything like me, you’re probably frantically getting in those last minute errands that you’ve been putting off forgotten about, baking holiday treats, and cleaning the house in anticipation of loved ones later this evening (or in my case, first thing tomorrow morning). It’s okay, we can all be superheroes from time to time, right?! Don’t stress out, it’s all going to be fine…right? RIGHT? Thankfully, our very own iFamilyKC Mom Squad team member Leah shares her 25 tips for managing holiday stress with us right here on the blog. Take a look…

25 Ways to manage holiday stress

25 Tips For Managing Holiday Stress

If you are anything like me you are guilty of trying to do a thousand things at once. I find myself being  pulled between trying to locate the “perfect gift”, attempting to stay on budget, pull money out of thin air, working more hours to afford “the perfect gift”, ordering things online, and trying to create time to wrap gifts all while trying to balance my daily tasks. Needless to say this momma is wore out.

The holidays tend to add so much stress and chaos to our already over packed lives. Yet, their intention is to the opposite. This year I am determined to approach things differently. I don’t want my son to judge holidays based around how well I may or may not handle stress. We all know that kids see everything even when we think otherwise. I want to make sure he sees me handle things with grace. After all I cannot expect him to if I don’t.

It really is my goal to learn how to master stress so it does not master me. I know that I will not be able to completely avoid stress. However, that doesn’t mean that I cannot try to handle it better when it arrives. I have found some pretty simple ways to help make your holidays a little less hectic. I hope that you can find one or two them useful.

#1 Take an Epson Salt bath – for an added stress relief add essential  oils

#2 Create a daily gratitude journal- use this to remind yourself what you are grateful for in yourself and others

#3 Go outside for a walk or run- being around the sunlight can improve your mood

#4 Instead of stressing out over dinner give yourself permission to order out

#5 Turn on some good music

#6 Have a glass of wine

#7 Have a cup of tea- there are so many teas out there to help you relax

#8 Give your partner a massage then have them return the favor ( or just book an appointment at a salon)

#9 Go get your hair done… I always feel better after a good hair cut

#10 Set a budget and stick with it

#11 Schedule a lunch date with a friend  and share a good laugh

#12 Turn off your phone so you can get stuff done without being distracted

#13 Try to give out “group gifts” when you have to buy for a family. This will help you stay on budget. You can buy them a movie, popcorn, snacks, etc. Plus this encourages them to do something as a family.

#14 Pace yourself- you do not have to do everything in one day. I find it useful to break my to do list down to a daily list instead. This also helps me feel less overwhelmed.

#15 Take a break and go do something fun as family

#16 Go see some Christmas lights and get yourself back into the Christmas spirit

#17 Light some candles around the house

#18 Meditate – this is an amazing stress reliever

#19 Go to the gym

#20 Call a friend or a family member that puts you in a good mood

#21 Get some sleep

#22 Don’t be afraid to ask for help

#23 Don’t sweat the small stuff

#24 Remind yourself that if something does not get done there is always tomorrow

#25 Listen to yourself- only you know your limits

To follow Leah further please go to her page at  www.facebook.com/solaceforthesoul

From iFamily to yours,

Leah

leah_ifamilykc_momsquad25 tips for managing holiday stress

emailsignupforblog3


How Men and Women Survive the Holidays – Together

Happy Sunday, Kansas City! Can you all even believe it? It’s time to start planning for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It sure sneaks up on you, doesn’t it? Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Sarah, is kicking off the holiday season here at iFKC with a fun little observance, if you will, of how men and women handle the holidays differently. Take a look…

How Men and Women Survive the Holidays - Together

How Men & Women Survive the Holidays—Together

 

 

It is November, can you believe it!? I guess we can officially say that the start to the Holidays is here. I can almost taste the pumpkin pie, see the turkey on the table, feel the pine needles on the tree and smell the cinnamon in my Home for the Holidays candle. But why is it that I can do this and my husband can’t? Well, it’s not that he can’t but to him the holidays mean something completely different. This is all due to the wiring in our brains where we can look at one thing but remember and explain it in two entirely different ways. I read a book, actually two books and an article on the subject; I was so excited to explain the things going on around me I just have to share it! While reading three things by no means makes me an expert– please take this for what it is worth. So here we go—the chemical explanation of the male and female brains and how we will survive the holidays with our significant others!

To begin, I promised my iFamily that I would leave the stereotypes out of this article. That doesn’t mean I am not saying them out loud, while I type, and no reason why you all shouldn’t be nodding your head and saying them to yourselves as well!

Let’s begin at the beginning then. Men and Women were different from the start; men were more the hunters, women more the gatherers. This continues to a point (enter Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus) although dated and filled with stereotypes, there really is a very good explanation to this division of labor, and why most women and men fall into these groups: CHEMISTRY!

Bringing this back to the holidays, let’s look at the first weeks of November. This is when planning for the big meal starts to happen, who will be invited this year and where they will sit. How many place settings do we need and who should bring what? Women’s brains have significantly more white matter, the interconnectedness of everything, so we handle these first few weeks at a rapid pace while multitasking on our everyday activities. The male brain has more gray matter than women’s brains. Gray matter, or the information processors of the brain, is why men will look at these activities and file them away for closer to the event, they are going to take each task and focus intently on it.

So now let’s have a little role play to illustrate these facts above. Feel free to ask your significant other to play the other part!

Scene: It is the day before Thanksgiving; the turkey is bought and defrosting, everything seems to be in its place and planned down to the last place setting. But wait! There is a last minute problem!

Woman: Panic! The table and chair arrangement is not going to work! It will put my sister and husband’s brother right next to each other and last year they fought about politics the whole meal! Stop! Couple things to point out here when we go back to our old friend, chemistry; first of all; stress, but we will get to that later. Most of all, I want to point out the memory from last year; key to women. The wiring in their brains have more connections with memories and feelings. They remember they didn’t like how they felt when sister and brother-in-law fought and a little file was put into one of those connections to keep them away from each other whenever possible. Okay continue.

Woman: Man, would you mind rearranging the table so that these two aren’t sitting together?

Man: Why

Woman: Because last year they sat by each other and fought the entire time about politics—this year could be worse! Don’t you remember? (See above, what we know about men’s brains is that he may not remember, or if he does it probably won’t be from an emotional standpoint).

Man: Sure, I will take care of it. Still sitting in his chair

Woman: DO IT NOW!!! I have so much to do and you are just sitting there!

Okay, so our little scenario above, I KNOW has happened in every household at one point in time. But once again I refer back to chemistry. It very well could be that the man is not just sitting there, but actually planning and plotting how to move the table or position the chairs just right. Because of that gray matter that men have it tends to lead to tunnel vision. At this moment he is engulfed in something, but in a few minutes he will get to the solving of this problem. Women, because of that white matter we would tend to go ahead and start on the place settings to just get it done. When woman above asked him to do the task, she needed to also say that she would like that done before she could do something else, indicating that she would like it done quickly. Both ways come out to the same result but only one way helps to keep the stress level down come T-Day.

Getting to stress, it will happen around the holidays, but the way that men and women will respond is going to be very different. And for that matter the way that we need to respond to our significant others when they are stressed is different as well. Our brains produce many neuro-chemicals including serotonin, testosterone, estrogen, and oxytocin. Women’s brains tend to handle stress by emotion and like to be around other people for support. This is because of how we process the estrogen and oxytocin; a bonding and relationship chemical. Men’s brains will likely handle stress by going to the gym, getting up and taking a walk or in some cases raising their voice. Male brains process less oxytocin and more testosterone which makes them more impulsive or aggressive. So how do we handle it? When you see yourself or your partner getting stressed, offer to take over a few things while they go for a walk or take a warm bath, or sometimes just offering up a hug is all it will take to diffuse the situation.

I know that everyone doesn’t need another thing to think about this year and making sure that you aren’t arguing with your spouse is probably near the bottom. But if we take a step back and think that maybe it is the wiring in our brains which make us act and say the things we do; it will cause a little less friction. Also, when you are watching National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation this year, make a game of how many times you can point out a “man-brain” or “woman-brain” action—there are plenty!

 

From iFamily to Yours,
ifam_sarah


How to prevent a holiday meltdown

How to Prevent a Holiday Meltdown

Do you feel stressed around the holiday season?
Well don’t let this time of year get the best of you. This is a time filled with love and laughter and finger lickin food! Don’t let a batch of burnt cookies get you down. Hug your little ones, laugh off the little things and don’t stress the storm you can’t control.

How to Prevent A Holiday Meltdown fireplace

This is not a movie scene or a picture perfect moment in time… your holiday get together will be full rowdy kids, rambunctious pets, and those infamous “OOPS!”. Take a deep breath and accept the holidays are not perfect. What is perfect is spending time with the ones you love and seeing the smile on your child’s face when they open their first gift from Santa this year.  Don’t set the bar so high with expectations and simply go with the flow. Especially if you’re the host of this year’s holiday celebration… if you have expected guests, then I’m positive you have a willing helping hand close by!

How to Prevent a Holiday Meltdown Banner

With the holidays comes a handful of invitations… and to dos and deadline and who and where to bring the kids. It’s easy to find yourself being dragged in every direction this time of year. To prevent this from happening and bring your stress level from 10 to 2, don’t overbook yourself. Say no… I know… easier said than done. Organize your time with those tasks you HAVE to do with some of those holiday activities you enjoy.

How to Prevent a Holiday Meltdown Christmas Baking

The holidays can put a toll on relationships. Or the mere fact of just seeing that relative may make you cringe. Don’t let the unaccepting in-laws or overbearing siblings spoil your time. Interact with them in small doses, otherwise surround yourself with those who make you smile.

Don’t substitute your sleep in order to be the first in line at the toy store. Manage your time better to get both your wrapping done AND a good night rest. They’ll forgive you for just tossing their toy in a gift bag… but nobody likes a grumpy parent.

Keep calm and enjoy your holiday!

Stephanie Falcone