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Expert offers advice for coping with holiday stress and anxiety

Expert offers advice for coping with holiday stress and anxiety

With the holiday season in full swing, the added demands on adults and children can increase stress and anxiety in the home. It is important to recognize triggers early to get ahead of them. Virginia Tech expert Rosanna Breaux offers tips on ways to identify stressors and how to cope.

“The holidays are a trigger for many, whether they don’t have a good relationship with family members, are recently bereaved, or they just struggle to adjust to the sunless winter days,” says Rosanna Breaux, director of the Child Study Center and an assistant professor with the Virginia Tech Department of Psychology.

“For children, stress and anxiety might be around disruptions to their regular routine during the school year and having overly-scheduled social events with their family, long car rides, meeting and having to speak to extended family members or adults that they do not know or don’t know well, having to split time between homes in cases of co-parenting, or recognizing injustices and inequalities in the world,” said Breaux.

“For adults, there are many stressors such as financial concerns and increased expenses due to holiday celebrations, overly scheduled social calendars, end of the year deadlines at work, and wanting your children to be happy and appreciative for what they have/are given. Trying to keep peace at a holiday dinner with differing political perspectives or keeping your children entertained and not fighting while home from school are added stressors during the holidays,” said Breaux.

Breaux shares the following advice on ways to cope with anxiety surrounding the holidays.

When planning for holiday events, Breaux says to be as prepared as possible and bring things to keep your children entertained.

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