Winter Break with the Kids: Taking Care of You in 5 Steps

Winter Break with the Kids: Taking Care of You in 5 Steps

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Ah, December. Just when you have your get-the-kids-to-school routine down, they come home for winter break (on top of your exploding to-do list, if you celebrate the holidays.) Don’t worry! I’m here to help you though it without losing your mind. Here are five simple steps to help you take care of you while your kids are home for winter break.

1. While kids may love the unstructured days, recognize that it may not work for you. If you’re the kind of person that works best with some structure, think about how you might meet in the middle.

2. Practice getting rid of the shoulds where you can. (I bet there are more opportunities for this than you think. For example, do you really need to expertly wrap and write a witty card for everyone?) When you first start saying no, it’ll feel uncomfortable, but with some practice, notice how your experience shifts into the positive.

3. Pay attention to your mood — without judgment. Notice and acknowledge how you’re feeling throughout the day, and learn how to be OK with it.

4. Practice giving yourself what you need. If you notice that you’re exhausted (and who isn’t?), give yourself permission to take a nap. If you notice that you’re losing patience, give yourself permission to take a time out.

5. Do something daily for you. Just you. Here’s a suggestion.

The risk of giving you these five steps is that it makes managing anxiety sound easy, when that’s not always the case. Many of us need more personalized and in-depth direction. If this might be you, please contact a professional (like me!) We’ll come up with a personalized action plan to help you stay sane whether the kids are home or not!

In the meantime, visit me on my Facebook page and let me know how your winter break goes.

About the author

Joanna Hardis, LISW, is a cognitive behavioral therapist in Shaker Heights, Ohio, focused on helping parents with the hardest job on earth. A mother of three herself, Joanna combines years of everyday parenting experience with professional training in the areas of anxiety; changing family dynamics, such as divorce; and obsessive-compulsive and eating disorders all in an effort to support, coach and empower parents of behaviorally challenging kids (which is pretty much all of them, right?). Joanna earned her undergraduate degree at Cornell University in New York and a master’s degree from Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve University.

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