• 3 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress in Your Family | John Sovec | Episode 204

  • The holidays are here and they can be fun, festive, and happy but also stressful, frustrating and sad. There can be a lot of pressure and endless to-do lists that rob us of the joy of the season. Fortunately there are ways to shift things to a more positive experience. Mighty Parenting host Sandy Fowler discusses these shifts with John Sovec. John lends insights into how we end up stressed and unhappy. Then he’s talks about how you can reduce holiday stress for yourself and your family while creating a holiday to remember. 

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    A Favorite Quote from the Show on Reducing Holiday Stress: 

    Your kids are actually pretty wise. If you give yourself space to listen to what their needs and wants are you might be surprised at how simple they can be.

    High Points From Our Conversation on 3 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress in Your Family:

    People spend their holidays either try to recreate a long list of traditions or trying to fix all the things that went wrong with their holidays while growing up.

    Identify what you really want and let go of visions of a perfect holiday

    We create enormous expectations and set the bar so incredibly high that we lose track of why we’re even celebrating. Those expectations around creating the perfect holiday make it impossible to enjoy the season and drive our stress levels.

    If we can find ways to walk ourselves away from those visions of perfection then we can start to create a holiday we actually enjoy based on what’s happening now, who we are now, and what we want this celebration to be.

    Talk to your family about what you want your holidays to be and what they want them to be. 

    Just because you’ve been celebrating the way you have doesn’t mean you have to continue celebrating in that way.

    Having conversations about what you and your family want the holidays to be can reduce holiday stress

    Have the first conversation with yourself about what the holidays might look like. Ask yourself why—why do I do this? Why do think I have to do this? Do I really want this and what do I get from it?

    John is a baker. Making desserts and cookies to take to parties is important to him so he makes sure that happens no matter what his holidays look like.

    Don’t expect your kids to get joy from the same activities and traditions that bring you joy.

    The main source of holiday stress for teens is their parents and their parents’ expectations of the holiday. They see their parents going into overload or trying to spend lots of money on gifts or vacations. And it stresses them out.

    Adolescents and young adults may not have the same big needs they did when they were younger. Find out what they really want with a family conversation. Be sure to really listen to your teen.

    Your kids are actually pretty wise. If you give yourself space to listen to what their needs and wants are you might be surprised at how simple they can be. If we get to the simpler, core things that make a really beautiful holiday for each other it reduces Christmas stress as well.

    Set healthy boundaries

    We can reduce holiday stress by pushing against the “more” is a better philosophy and simplify.

    People see a busy schedule as proof they are really doing the holidays. But you can reduce stress by simplifying your schedule. Reduce your commitments to the essential ones and it will reduce Christmas stress. Keep the ones that bring you that deepest joy and let some of the others slip away. Then leave room for some downtime, fun, and simplicity.

    Communication opens up a channel to make changes that are powerful and effective. It helps you draw healthy boundaries.

    To set and hold healthy boundaries:

    • Decide what those boundaries are
    • Be comfortable with the stress of implementing them

    The most powerful way to set a boundary is to say Thank you so much for the invitation but we are not going to be able to attend. It’s simple, clear, and concise.

    If we can learn to clarify what the healthy boundary is inside ourselves then we can learn to express our needs clearly and concisely. When you can do that with authenticity then you’ll know you’ve learned the skill of setting boundaries in a healthy way.

    When we’re really comfortable with boundary setting it doesn’t have to be confrontational.

    John has strong, clear boundaries. He often says no to things so when he says yes people know he’ll follow through and be there 100%.

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    Resources:

    The Christmas Secret: Why the Holiday Season is so Hard and How to Fix It by Sandy Fowler

    The Best Gift You Can Give Yourself blog post by John Sovec

    Stress Relief Strategies For Better Holidays | Sandy Fowler | Episode 95

    A Parenting Conversation About Coming Out | John Sovec | Episode 171

    Our Guest John Sovec, LMFT:

    With more than 15 years as a speaker, motivator, author, therapist, and coach John Sovec, LMFT, brings not only his clinical expertise but also a unique air to each and every appearance he makes. He is well known for his signature style, which mixes knowledge, focus, approachability, and humor to create an environment that encourages openness, growth and development. 

    John is a nationally recognized topic expert on creating LGBTQ affirming care and works with LGBTQ teens in the coming out process to discover their uniqueness as they explore their true identity. Through his work he helps clients develop awareness and openness, provides practical tools for both parents and teens, and assists in building a close and supportive family connection.

    To learn more or connect with our guest visit https://johnsovec.com 

    Sponsor Tip: 

    One of the best ways to help kids learn to use cell phones in a healthy way is to model healthy smartphone habits ourselves. You can: 

    1. Be intentional
    2. Set boundaries
    3. Make a usage schedule for yourself

    Then talk to your child about how they can do the same. Have a conversation about what would work for them and things they can do to support themselves in developing those habits.

    And if you want amazing support in helping your child develop those healthy habits, get a Troomi phone so you can set up appropriate access to everything on the phone right in the parent portal. Troomi lets you guide your child in learning to use smartphones is a safe and healthy way with plans that grow with your child. 

    You can learn more at Troomi.com and use the code MIGHTYPARENTING to get half off a phone through November 30th. And if you want to know more of Sandy’s thoughts on using Troomi to help your child develop healthy technology habits just email through the contact page on mightyparenting.com.

    From Sandy:

    How to Talk to Your Teen — free email series at MightyParenting.com