How To Not Lose Your Sh*t During The Holidays

emotion parenting emotions grief self-compassion Dec 10, 2020
How To Not Lose Your Sht During The Holidays

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been a doozy!


Normally, a post about the holidays would include a lot of tips for how to plan your time and protect your energy while visiting your in-laws, traveling with the kids, and consuming large quantities of appetizers and pie. With the exception of that last part, I suspect your concerns about how to stay sane this holiday season are quite different this year.


Instead of planning for the inevitable meltdowns (your kids’ and yours!) that come from overstimulation – the excitement, noise, and chaos of large groups of people, holiday parties, and extended family dynamics – this year we need to plan ahead for feelings of grief and loss. Chances are, the kids were looking forward to being able to see cousins or grandparents for the holidays, and it’s pretty clear, at least here in the U.S., that that’s not going to look the same this year as it has in the past.

In the spring, our family celebrated Passover via zoom with my in-laws. Because my husband and I had both worked all day, we had not had time to prepare any special food, whereas my in-laws, who are retired, had prepared the entire Seder plate. My youngest just could not handle the disappointment of seeing the celebration happening on the screen, while we were eating a regular weekday dinner. He was so sad that he could not hug his grandparents.

I know that many families are also experiencing the grief of losing a parent, grandparent, or other loved ones. The coronavirus has taken so much from us, including the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Kids are deeply attuned to this loss.

I’m not going to pretend to have the answers for how to avoid the grief. In fact, what I will say is, EMBRACE IT, lean into it, sit with it, welcome all the feelings. This goes for the kids, too. Make space for their feelings of grief. Steady yourself so you can show up for your child when their feelings come up.

Grief in children shows itself in a variety of ways.

Be prepared for big tears about something “small,” like a broken cookie or receiving the wrong toy as a gift. These things might seem trivial, but they may serve as an important trigger to unveil some underlying emotions that may not have had a chance to surface yet.

The very most important thing is for YOU to take impeccably good care of yourself. This means asking for help, resting often, and getting the support you need, so you can meet your child’s big feelings with calm and compassion.

Click here to access my free self-compassion meditation.

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