It’s the most wonderful time of the year – but it may not always feel that way.
The holidays can be a lot of fun and yes, they are wonderful. But don’t set your standards too high or expect perfection all the time, whether you’re working with your students, multi-tasking at home, or even trying to make the perfect cut-out cookies.
Think of this as your holiday “thrival” list – so you can not only survive the season, but thrive – and head into the New Year reenergized and ready, both as a therapist and in your life outside the walls of your school.
See the Holidays through Your Student’s Eyes
If you think you’re facing extra stress this time of year – and you are – imagine how your students, especially those with special needs, must be feeling. Times of heightened fun and excitement can quickly dissolve into stress and anxiety as routines are upset, sleep schedules are disrupted, and normally balanced diets are derailed by a bit too much sugar and spice.
- Let kids be kids. They’ll be on overdrive as the holiday break approaches. So cut them a little – but not too much – slack. Decorate your room and plan holiday-themed projects, activities and reading programs. You may want to work in a little more physical activity, as well. Play a Christmas, Kwanza or Hanukkah game, which could have the added benefit of a lesson in cultural diversity. Unless the weather is really foul, bundle them up and go outside for a seasonal nature walk.
- Don’t lose your routine. This is the fine line you walk throughout the year, but especially during the holidays. So be sure to offset more vigorous activities with down time – quiet reading, soft music, and the same daily and weekly routines children expect when they enter the classroom, albeit with seasonal overtones.
Take Care of Yourself
Keep the “happy” in your holidays by doing things you enjoy. This includes rest and relaxation, no matter how unrealistic it may sound on the surface.
- You don’t have to be superhuman. There’s no shame in ordering pies from the bakery instead of stressing over the perfect crust at two o’clock in the morning. But if baking truly brings you pleasure and satisfaction, by all means do it. The same holds true for other traditions and holiday happenings. If you really enjoy them, then go for it. But if they bring stress or unhappiness, let them go or delegate them to someone else.
- Find ways to de-stress. Schedule down time. Eat sensibly and try to stick to your sleep schedule. Exercise. Physically or mentally, now is not the time to skip the gym.
- Keep it real. Stay within your budget and don’t let Black Friday, which has evolved into about eight black weeks, weaken your resolve. It sounds like a cliché, but when it comes to holiday giving, it really is the thought that counts. You don’t want to start off 2014 facing debt and the added anxiety that comes with it.
With just a little planning and creativity, this really can be the most wonderful time of the year.
For more tips on success in your therapy career and your work/life balance, read our related posts or contact the expert team at Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services. And Happy Holidays!