The joy of the holidays is often accompanied by increased stress. Extended time with family, overscheduling, changes in routines, and the commercial pressure of the holiday season can become overwhelming. As caregivers, we may find ourselves reacting rather than responding to events and others around us.

Stress is contagious. If we’re feeling hurried or irritable, it is likely that our children will too. When unaddressed, stress can accumulate and have harmful consequences. In moments of frustration, we can draw upon “ordinary magic” to help us gain perspective and prevent minor problems from escalating.

When feeling overwhelmed, consider pausing and focusing your attention on the present moment; simply push the pause button and avoid reacting. Taking a deep breath allows the body to slow down. This can help us think more clearly and notice what we are feeling.

Viktor Frankl reminds us that we can channel our power to choose by finding the “space between stimulus and response.” Let’s choose the pause button and create extraordinary magic this holiday season.

Masten, A. S. (2014). Ordinary magic: Resilience in development. Guilford Press.

Tan, C. (2012). Search inside yourself: The unexpected path to achieving success, happiness (and world peace). New York, HarperOne.