Busy Mom’s Guide to Surviving the Holidays

Amber Sliney

December 17, 2017

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The holidays can be such a wonderful time of year while at the same time the most stressful time of the year. There are the parties to attend, gifts to buy, school activities….and then the kids are off from school, aghh! The kids are excited to have time off while you are feeling overwhelmed. The holiday season can really take a toll on you both physically and emotionally, but it doesn’t have to.

I’m sure you constantly hear that stress is bad for you and how you should not stress too much, right? As a mom, you probably think that’s not even possible. Especially during the holidays with so much going on.

So, I won’t tell you to not stress because that will most likely just cause you more stress, one more thing to worry about. I want to offer you some practical tips to help minimize your stress and to keep up your energy and mood throughout this busy time of year.

Busy Mom’s Plan Ahead

Being organized and planning ahead can make things go a little smoother and hopefully prevent a last-minute scramble to get something done. Don’t let your schedule be so strict that it is causing you additional stress. Have your schedule be a little flexible because things may not always go exactly how you have them planned. You may be on your schedule, but kids often seem to have their own schedule or lack of schedule.

Holiday Food & Treats

With the holidays will come opportunities to indulge in food and treats you probably don’t eat on a regular basis. Being around all this delicious food can be very tempting. Although, eating a lot of those treats or foods you don’t normally eat can take a toll on you. They can make you more tired and moody than usual and could even add a few pounds. Here are some tips to navigate the holiday treats.


Go ahead and enjoy some treats, just don’t overindulge, enjoy them in moderation. If you try to be super strict and not eat any treats, this tends to backfire usually ending with you overindulging. You know yourself best so be reasonable. While you don’t have to say no to everything, don’t say yes to everything either.

Homemade Treats

Making your own healthier treats to bring to the party will give you a better option when you are there. That way you aren’t as tempted to overindulge in something you might regret later. Or just keep some treats for you to have at home so you don’t feel like you’re being deprived if I don’t eat everything at the party.

Protein & Fat

With the colder weather your body may need more protein and fat than you did during the summer months. If you aren’t feeling satisfied with your meals or are constantly craving something sweet, try adding more protein and healthy fats with your meals.


It’s important to stay hydrated as the body often craves sugar when it’s dehydrated. So the craving you have for that treat may be your body telling you it needs a big glass of lemon water. I realize when it’s cold out, drinking a glass of ice water may not sound very inviting. You can drink warm lemon water or even tea to help you stay hydrated.

Stay Active

Staying active will elevate your mood and keep you feeling more energized, just don’t overdo it. Either doing physical activities or stimulating your mind by sitting and playing a game will keep you feeling good this holiday season.

With the kids off school you may find there are times when they are stuck inside and driving you crazy. Keeping them busy as well will help prevent bored, cranky kids. Here are some activities the whole family can enjoy.

Indoor gym/trampoline park

When was the last time you bounced on a trampoline? This will make you feel like a kid again, just don’t injure yourself. Even if you don’t feel like bouncing around you can still take the kids to release some energy. While they are doing that you can read a book or catch up on emails. Depending on how old your kids are you may be able to drop them off while you go do some holiday shopping.

Play in the snow

If you live in an area with snow, have a family snowball fight or a contest to build the best/most creative snowman.


Bowling is always a good option for an indoor activity. To make it a little more interesting, add different rules. Some ideas are: bowling with your opposite hand, granny style with both hands, backwards between your legs, stand on one foot, sit on the floor, or sing a song.

Dance contest

Have a dance contest at home, kids (and adults) of all ages love to dance. Although the older ones may think they are too cool to join in, maybe once they see everyone else making a fool of themselves they will jump in.

Build an indoor fort or obstacle course

This is another one you can do at home. Help the kids build a fort using blankets, the couch and living room chairs or even under the kitchen table. They may even want to just hang out in there while you have a few moments to yourself.

Board games or cards

There are games for kids of all ages, find what works best for your family. Some of the games my kids love are The Game of Things, Jenga and Uno. For just plain card games they like slap jack and double solitaire.


It can be tempting to stay up late when you have a lot of things that need to get done. If you do this, you will most likely be even less productive the next day. It’s better to get a good night’s sleep so you have the energy and ability to focus on what needs to get accomplished the next day (and deal with the kids).

Also, when you are tired your sugar and junk food cravings will increase. And you may just give in to those cravings since you are tired and looking for a quick pick me up.

Even though the kids don’t have to get up early for school doesn’t mean they should stay up late every night either. They will be less cranky and more willing to do activities if they have had a good night’s sleep.

You and the kids will feel better if you keep a fairly consistent sleep/wake schedule.


Breathing Exercises

Take a few minutes out of the day to do some breathing exercises. This will help you feel a bit calmer during this crazy time of year. Breathing exercises can be done throughout the day or whenever you are feeling overwhelmed. It doesn’t take long and can be done anywhere.

  1. Take a deep breath in through your nose for the count of 5.
  2. Hold for another count of 5.
  3. Then release slowly to the count of 5.
  4. This can be repeated several times.


Laughter is the best medicine! Laughing can even reduce stress. So, if you have one of those days where nothing goes right and you just want to cry, try laughing instead. I know, things may not go perfectly and there is a lot to do but stop worrying about perfection and find the time to laugh and really enjoy each day.

Time for You

It can seem impossible with so much to do and the kids off school, but you will feel better both emotionally and physically if you take a little time for yourself. This can be time to get some shopping done, get a massage or spend some time with a girlfriend.

If you have family close by or maybe they are in town for the holidays, ask them to watch the kids for a bit. Or you can do a share with another mom, have her watch your kids while you get some things done and then you can watch her kids another time.

You can best take care of others if you first take good care of yourself!

The holidays don’t have to be overwhelming or stressful, even for busy moms. Plan ahead to make this your best year ever.