TIPS FOR HAPPY FAMILY HOLIDAYS
Season’s Greetings filled with Peace, Love and Joy are all around us, but are they part of your family holidays?
Family holidays can be a wonderful time of love and connection. Daily routines shift, bedtimes relax and all-day poolside days become possible.
Or does all the extra time together create more friction with kids getting cranky and driving each other (& you) crazy? The words “Mom, I’m bored” said more times than you can count & days begin to fill up with bickering and frustration leaving you pulling your hair out!
Here are 6 simple ways to keep the overwhelm at bay and enjoy happy holidays
- Know Your Holiday Feelings
What memories are the most important for you to take home?
Is the holiday you booked the holiday you dreamed of? Does it have the adventure, culture, recreation, or relaxation you want? If not, how can you incorporate them into your trip?
Now stop and think about how you want to feel on your family holiday? Are you hoping for peace and calm; love and connection; or fun and laughter? Get to know what feelings bring you the most happiness and pick your top 3 to focus on.
- Keep Them In Mind
Keep those feelings at the top of your mind. Make them your priority. How can you bring them into your trip with the choices you make each day. Ask yourself, what can we do today to bring us closer to [fun, love, connection]?
If fun and laughter are what you want, do you need to get down with your kids and play? Jump into the pool & splash around, even if it’s cold?
At the end of each day reflect on whether you filled the day with family moments and experiences that gave you your desired feelings.
There is nothing this can’t help, everyone can do it and it only takes a minute.
Picture this you arrive at the airport, there are crowds of people everywhere, you have far too much hand luggage (when you know the kids will just watch TV or use tablets the whole time), miles to walk to your gate, kids to entertain or needing the loo in the customs queue (RIGHT NOW!); then your flight is delayed and you are stuck at the airport for hours.
You feel yourself spiralling down the rabbit hole filled with all the thoughts and feelings you don’t want. “This is so unfair”, “Why does this always happen to us?”.
Take a moment to breathe.
Just try it for one minute. Breathe in through your nose for the count of 5 and out through your nose for 5, repeat 3 times.
This helps calm your nervous system, to begin to move out of the fight or flight stress response. Now, refocus on how you want to feel when considering what you’ll do next.
- 4. Refill Your Cup
Staying positive and focussing on those happy family feelings is hard if you are exhausted. Burning the candle at both ends and batteries are almost empty, the priority becomes you.
As airlines advise, fit your own oxygen mask first. If you are empty, you’ll have nothing left to give to your family.
Set an expectation that you need some ‘you’ time each and every day of the trip. If you are able to take a massage session – wonderful – but I’m talking more about something small each day that is just for you and makes you feel good. What small, simple thing can you do to keep your cup filled up?
Leave the kids to your partner & take a walk – even after they are in bed, watch the sunset, take a bath, read a book, do a puzzle. I highly recommend it is screen-free, go old school here for true relaxation and time with yourself.
- Be Kind to Yourself
If there is too much pressure, your cup can empty again very quickly. Any focus on family holidays feelings are gone and anger, upset, hurt, overwhelm filter in. Now is the time to be kind to yourself, with self-compassion and self-forgiveness. Everyone will lose it sometimes, but spending the rest of the day locked in those feelings, or even feeling guilty that you became angry mama again isn’t helpful for anyone.
Take yourself away for a few moments, breathe and remind yourself that you are doing the best you can. Your best is always relative to your circumstances and energy levels, it won’t always look the same.
- Find Gratitude
Everyone is talking about gratitude these days, so what is the big deal?
Because focusing on what you are grateful to have, rather than problems or things you lack, can shift your whole life perspective. It can take you from looking at your life with glass half empty views to glass half full. The same amount of ‘water’ is in the glass, but the way you see it changes.
Each night before bed, think of 3 things that you are grateful for that day, really specific things that happened during the day. No matter how small or large – your children laughing, someone letting you go first in a queue, the smell of the soap in the shower, the view from the window, having someone else wash the dishes.
Wishing you the holiday of your dreams.