Self-care during the Holidays

The holidays are a time of super stressors. How do we go about managing kids who cause sleep-deprived adults? How do we manage other family members with whom we have strained, complicated relationships? These are tough ones. There are no blanket recommendations in these categories, but it is very important to make sure that you prioritize and take care of yourself during the holidays.

What does this exactly entail?

  • Holidays are likely not the purposeful time to have serious conversations. Hard conversations = stress, holidays =stress, therefore if you choose between stress vs stress^2, the former is likely the better choice. If it is important to have a serious conversation, try and schedule it on a later date.
  • Take turns over the holidays taking kid shifts (as needed). For example, if you are tired, see if you can get a spouse or grandparent to be up with them in the morning to so you can sleep in. You are likely not to catch up on sleep, but it may feel good to treat yourself.
  • In the spirit of treating yourself, have the goal of making life simpler over the holidays(e.g., don’t feel pressured to use your best china, get paper plates..ok fancy ones if you insist).
  • Don’t let the kids dictate every minute of the day. There are two parts to this: Letting your kids dictate the day (where to go, what to do, what to eat, etc.), allows them to live in an ego-centric world (a world which revolves around themselves). Although this may be very developmentally appropriate at times, it is important for children to learn there is a world that matters outside of their own. Further, and more importantly (in the context of this blog), you want to make sure to schedule some fun  activities in for yourself.
  • Remember that as a parent, if we are taking care of our emotional, social, and physical needs, we are much better able to take care of those around us.


Have a great holiday season, and remember you matter and take care of yourself as best you can,

Dr. K



I am a clinical psychologist with approximately 15 years of experience assessing and treating anxiety and depressive disorders in young children, adolescents, young adults, adults and geriatric populations. I completed a 6-year predoctoral training award at the National Institute of Mental Health, and postdoctoral training at the Anxiety Disorders Center at the Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital. From my clinical and research experiences, I have come to see the struggles of many families deciding when to pursue professional help and feeling very lost in the process. I will address several mental health issues that will help educate and empower my readers to make better mental health decisions for themselves. Welcome to my blog! Johanna Kaplan, Ph.D. Disclaimer-This blog is not and cannot be used in replace of formal therapy. This blog is used to inform and educate and is not a form of informal or formal advice.

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