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How to Make the Holidays Special for YOU - Mom

How to Make the Holidays Special for YOU - Mom

Fa,la, la, la. Right? It’s your first holiday as a new mom and it’s a lot. First things first. Let’s talk about you. After all, this is your holiday too and it doesn’t have to look exactly like you imagined. Instead, embrace the magic in your own way. Say goodbye to expectations and pressures and find whatever version of joy you choose. Our Mommy's Bliss 360 expert and Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Perinatal Mental Health Professional, Laurel Johnson, can help you do just that. Find your happiest holiday here… 

The holiday season can feel many different ways - special, exciting, overwhelming, stressful, celebratory, just to name a few. There are a lot of expectations that surround this time of year, both coming from the people around you and from yourself. This can be especially true for new moms, who may be feeling the pressure to make their baby’s first holiday season special while juggling the demands of postpartum.

In the season of giving, Moms may spend a lot of time and energy focusing on creating holiday magic for those around them. While it may be fulfilling to see the joy you create for others, it’s important to remember that you deserve extra support during the holiday season too!

Ways to help you enjoy the holiday season:

Acknowledge Your Feelings

The holidays aren’t a joyful time for everyone, and that’s ok. Holidays can bring up challenging family dynamics, desires for situations to look different, memories of disappointing times, or grief of missing loved ones. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Even if it may feel like you are the only one struggling, most people experience feelings of sadness, loneliness, or grief at some point during the holiday season.

Acknowledging your true feelings and recognizing where you may need support can be extremely helpful. This may look like journaling about your feelings, sharing them with a trusted friend or loved one, or speaking with a therapist. When you acknowledge how you really feel, you open the door to being able to better manage your emotions and start feeling better.

Set an Intention

What feels most important to you to focus on to be able to have a special holiday season? Maybe your intention is to try and be present, and not get too caught up in your to-do list. Maybe you’d like to ask for a helping hand with chores, so that you can focus on the important moments with your family. Perhaps it’s to set boundaries with people. Whatever you choose, setting an intention before the holidays can help center you when you feel overwhelmed and create a guiding light for you to get the most out of this time.

Think About the Traditions YOU Enjoy

While the holiday season with a new baby may look different from those in the past, you may find familiar comfort in enjoying a yearly tradition. This could look like a favorite holiday food, music you like to listen to, movie you’ve always watched, candle scent, or activity that you cherish. Make it a priority to include your favorite tradition in this season, and ask the people around you to help make sure your most important traditions are honored.

This is also a great time to start new traditions that you can carry forward with your little one. One of the beautiful things about becoming a parent is that you get to choose what you want to take forward and what you want to leave behind. So, if there is a holiday tradition you want to create for yourself and your children moving forward, go for it! If there are traditions that aren’t your favorite, you can leave those behind and focus on what feels more aligned for you.

Focus on Self-care

Postpartum can already be a stressful and complex time, and can become overwhelming quickly when you add in the hustle and bustle and family dynamics of the holidays. As a new parent, self-care should be treated as a necessity, not a luxury. Self-care in postpartum doesn’t have to be extravagant, and focusing on the practical facets like sleep, nutritious meals, light movement, and emotional support can make a world of difference. Here are some ideas to prioritize taking care of yourself:

  • If there are additional family members or friends around, ask for them to watch the baby while you take a nap
  • If the weather permits, go for a walk outside or search for a postpartum safe yoga class on YouTube
  • Have pre-planned meals and nutritious snacks on hand to grab while you are feeding the baby
  • Talk with a loved one about helping out with a task so you can have time for a longer shower
  • Focus on simple ways of nourishing yourself, like drinking enough water throughout the day or spending some time by a sunny window
  • Join an online support group, like the drop in groups offered by Postpartum Support International

Remember, the more you prioritize your own self-care, the better you will be able to show up for your baby and other loved ones. Scheduling even 5-10 minutes of self-care per day can make a huge difference in your mood and ability to handle the extra stress of the holiday season.

Don’t Forget Yourself

If you’re making a wish list for gifts, remember to include things that are specifically for you, not just for the baby. If you have older children, you can ask them to make you a special holiday card during craft time, or pick out a gift for you when stopping by the dollar section if they’re out with another caretaker. Maybe you will take a few minutes while running errands or shopping to stop to enjoy your favorite cozy drink. Whatever you decide, keep in mind that you deserve to be celebrated just as much as the others around you!

Sometimes in order to create the environments we do want, we have to also think about what dynamics we don’t want to be present. To create a holiday season that feels special for you, it might be necessary to check in with yourself about what could get in the way.

Both the holidays and postpartum are especially easy times to fall into the comparison trap. There are a lot of societal pressures around the holidays that may lead to comparing yourself to others. Social media, while keeping us connected to others, can contribute to comparison and feelings of isolation. Remember, no matter what someone else may be doing, you are the best parent for your baby. One of the best ways to make the holidays special for you is to try to stay out of comparing yourself to others, and to focus your energy on cultivating the way you want to feel.

The holidays can come with additional visitors, guests, and requests to spend time with you and your baby. In order to make space for yourself this season, you may need to set some boundaries.

Some examples of healthy boundaries may look like:

  • “Thank you for the invitation! Unfortunately we can’t make it this year”
  • “We have decided to wait a while before introducing the baby to new people. I know that may be disappointing. We will let you know when we’re ready for visitors.”
  • “We have decided to do [insert parenting decision here]. It feels right for us and we are happy with our choice”

Setting boundaries is an act of self-love that, while challenging at times, opens up space for you to take care of yourself and focus on you and your baby’s needs.

As with postpartum, the holidays can be a whirlwind of feelings, challenges, and successes. This season, focus on giving yourself compassion, finding new ways of doing things that feel right for you, and prioritizing your needs. Remember that you deserve to feel special during this time too! Focus on your intentions for the season and the support you need to make sure this time brings joy and fulfillment.

This site is intended for informational purposes only and does not provide medical advice. Please consult your physician or other health-care professional.

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