UConn expert explains how to get the best from this holiday seasonDecember 22, 20212 min read
While this holiday season might feel a little more like the good 'ole times for a lot of families, others are scaling back plans amidst a COVID resurgence.
Regardless of how we choose to celebrate, for many this season also brings stress, pressure, and family drama alongside merriment and holiday cheer. But UConn's experts are here to help you get the best out of the holidays this year -- educational psychologist Dr. Sandra Chafouleas offers some tips in a recent interview with CNN:
Whenever and however you celebrate, having a holiday season is important for wellbeing, Chafouleas said.
Holidays set aside time for relaxation, reflection and reliable traditions -- a trio that has become increasingly important as the world has gotten more chaotic and less predictable, Chafouleas said.
Whether you approach them from a spiritual, social or cultural perspective, celebrating holidays can offer a "super big dose" of positive emotions like joy, gratitude, serenity, hope, pride and love, she added.
Holiday gatherings can also be a mixed bag of emotions.
"The way I do things versus the way we've always done things -- that's just a concoction for some disagreements," Chafouleas said.
Small changes can make a big difference, both experts said.
For Chafouleas, it can look like identifying which part of the traditions feel like obligations rather than celebrations.
"I used to make a million cookies with my kids, especially when they were younger, and I just don't enjoy that anymore, but my girls really like to do that," Chafouleas said. The work and the mess afterward started to take away from the joy of the traditions.
"So, I stepped away from that. I keep it simple," Chafouleas said. "They do it, and I get to eat them and participate in the experience of that ritual without have to be the one responsible."
Sandra Chafouleas is a UConn Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Educational Psychology and an expert on social-emotional well-being. She's available to lend her holiday ritual expertise to your reporting -- just click her icon to arrange an interview today.
Sandra M. Chafouleas Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Educational Psychology
Professor Chafouleas is an expert on whole child, school mental health, behavioral assessment, and K12 tiered systems of support.