The holidays can be stressful enough, but can be especially hard for parents waiting to adopt a baby.
For many among us, including those waiting and hoping to become parents, the holiday season does not lead to automatic cheer, joy or peace. The season, with its emphasis on children and family, can bring loneliness and heartache to many in the midst of an adoption journey. If the holidays bring on a heightened sense of sadness or worry, try to remember these simple tips to find some enjoyment and gratitude.
- Have a plan
Even the best intentioned, emotionally intelligent friends and family can sometimes be clunky or tone deaf to waiting adoptive families. When planning your attendance at holiday gatherings, you may be wise to evaluate the crowd to assess how sensitive those in attendance can be. It’s perfectly acceptable to plan abbreviated stops at various festivities, giving yourself an out after a set amount of time. Here’s an idea: pick up advance tickets for the symphony or movies so that you have an excuse to skedaddle. Your hosts will be none the wiser!
- Get outdoors or get moving
When winter skies are clear, step outside and breathe in the crisp, clean air. A good dose of Vitamin D each day will get those endorphins going and instantly improve your mood. Walking, hiking, biking are all easy to do in the Bay Area. And while you’re at it, why not visit a different neighborhood that you’ve been meaning to explore—making it more of an adventure. If you’re taking some time off of work, use it as an opportunity to try a new form of exercise: cycling classes, cross fit, Zumba – give one (or all) a try. Beat the January rush by getting your bearings at the gym in December.
- Volunteer and give back
Studies show that giving back—whether it’s buying a gift for a toy drive, baking cookies for your local fire department, or serving meals at a homeless shelter—has many positive benefits for the giver. Giving makes us feel happier, more connected and grateful. There’s no shortage of people in our communities and our world who could use some of our time or resources now and throughout the year. Find ways to help at volunteermatch.org.
- Reach out for help
If you’re sensing that what you’re experiencing is more than the holiday blues, reach out and find professional help immediately. While holiday party exit strategies, exercise and giving back can all be effective tools to combat the sadness you may be experiencing while you wait for a match, sometimes they’re not enough. Trained professionals can help you manage these feelings before they become more debilitating.
Adoption Connection wishes you and your family and peaceful and healthy holidays and a happy new year.