Care for the Individual - Managing Holiday Stress

close up of purple Christmas tree ornament ball with gold trees and snow
Collin Miller, Director of Counseling

We are officially in the holiday season! As an institution dedicated to cura personalis (care for the individual), De Smet Jesuit recognizes that while for many this is a happy time, there are also those who find this to be a stressful season. Students are especially under pressure during this time because it also marks the end of the first semester of the school year. Not only are finals coming, but for those who have struggled academically, this is the last opportunity to raise a grade before it becomes permanent.

In addition to being impacted by school stressors, some associate this time of year with sadness for loved ones lost and personal challenges that they've faced over the past year. Often times, the cold weather and shorter days can bring on the winter blues. Any of these factors may cause increased anxiety, depression, mood swings, or lack of enjoyment for teens. Here are some ways you can help your sons to combat these negative feelings: 

  1. Keep communication ongoing so that you can recognize signs of stress.
  2. Help students plan ahead and stay organized with their responsibilities for school, their jobs, and social lives. Allow them to take small steps toward accomplishing their goals.
  3. Encourage physical activity and down time.
  4. Make sure students are getting adequate sleep.
  5. Surround your sons with positive people and events that focus on the happiness of the season.
  6. Seek outside resources if at any time you feel as though your son may need professional help.

Recognizing the presence of stress during this time of year can help parents support their children and get through the difficult periods. With planning and action your family can find peace and joy during this holiday season. Many Blessings!

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