How Meditation Gets Me Through the Holiday Season as a Parent

by: Suzie Marschhausen
I used to feel the immense pressure of the holidays, running around like a chicken with my head cut off while the anxiety of all the things I needed to do drained me of my holiday spirit. I don't want to just survive the holidays, I want to enjoy them — and the best tool I’ve found to do that is meditation. Here's how meditation for parents can ease holiday-related stress and anxiety.

We’ve all been there. The holidays are inching up on us and there are a million and one things to do from trying to find the perfect gift for seemingly every single person we’ve ever met, and busy weekends full of cooking, eating, and socializing. It’s enough to drive anyone into a stress-induced meltdown.

It’s no secret that for most adults, the magic of the holidays takes a back seat to the stress of being Santa, Betty Crocker, and Joanna Gaines all at once…while still managing to stick to a budget and stay civil with all your family members.

More: Holiday Stress-Busters: Advice for Parents

I used to feel the immense pressure of the holidays, running around like a chicken with my head cut off while the anxiety of all the things I needed to do drained me of my holiday spirit.

After an exceptionally dramatic conversation I had with my husband one year about wanting to skip the holidays all together (which we did for a couple years while we traveled abroad), I realized that I didn’t want to just survive the holidays, I wanted to enjoy them — and the best tool I’ve found to do that is meditation.

Meditation is defined as “the act of giving your attention to only one thing, either as a religious activity or as a way of becoming calm and relaxed.”

To me, meditation is simply a way to become aware of the present moment, to let go of the future and the past, and just BE. What better way to enjoy the holidays than to be present, attentive, and unattached to external outcomes while enjoying exactly how things unfold?

Here’s why I recommend meditation for parents (especially during the holidays):

Decrease stress and anxiety

How many times have you heard someone emphasize how stressed out they are during the holidays? Meditation has been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety, while increasing feelings of wellbeing. When the holidays have you feeling overwhelmed, a simple five-minute meditation can be just what you need to hit the reset button and reframe your experience.

Get some much needed alone time

This is especially important for those who identify as empaths or introverts. During the holidays, you’re surrounded by family members, in and out of crowded stores, attending loud parties, and the kids are on vacation. Allowing yourself to take some time each day for yourself to meditate is a great way to get that much needed alone time and feel grounded amongst all the chaos.

More: Ommm! 5 Meditation & Mindfulness Activities for Families

Understand emotional triggers from family members and release them

Celebrating the holidays with family is a beautiful tradition that many of us enjoy, but that doesn’t mean all that time spent with family members is without its challenges. There’s nothing like a passive-aggressive comment from a family member to trigger our unhealed wounds. Instead of allowing these triggers to ruin your experience, take it as a healing opportunity. Meditation is a great way to calmly and objectively become aware of your thoughts and feelings, reflect on them, and release the underlying issues that are being triggered. You might just find that you have more patience and understanding for the way others act, or at the very least you’ll have more control over how you react.

Receive health benefits in a notoriously unhealthy time of year

The holidays are chock full of unhealthy activities. Late nights, eating and drinking all sorts of goodies to the point of explosion, flu season, and a drop in vitamin D levels all contribute to our health and immune system taking a beating. By practicing meditation, you’ll be able to use that sense of presence and calm to practice mindful eating and improve immune system function. Staying healthy during the holidays is going to make them so much more enjoyable.

Get back in the holiday spirit and be present with your kids

Most importantly, I’ve found that meditation helps me to be present so I can enjoy time with my son. Our children won’t remember the toys they received, but they will remember the fun traditions and the joy we shared with them. Conscious parenting expert Dr. Shefali Tsabary states it perfectly: “Become silent in your children’s presence, free yourself of all distractions, and attune yourself to them in a state of curiosity and delight.” When we can attune and be present to the wonder of the holidays that our children experience, we too can share in that innocent delight.

If you’re convinced to give meditation a try this holiday season, I highly recommend checking out some of these Meditation Resources to make it as simple as possible.

  • Insight Timer: A free app with thousands of free meditations to listen to.
  • Calm: Free meditation app that teaches you the skill of meditation.
  • 8-Minute Meditation: A book that guides you through a simple “program” to build a meditation practice in just eight minutes a day

Wishing you a happy, peaceful, and positively magical holiday season. Namaste.

For more holiday ideas, inspiration, and fun, check out official Holiday Pinterest board: