5 ways to help you have a smoother time this Easter

Despite glossy pictures of families seemingly all having a stress free time during holidays for many people life is far from this flawless image of perfection. Holidays are one of the most stressful times for families and they always seem to come round again before you know it.

In reality most parents are trying to juggle multiple responsibilities - work, caring responsibilities and other commitments added to the cost of living crisis we are currently facing it can be a period of added stress and day to day workload on top of what families are already managing.

In amongst all this excitement and pressure to provide numerous activities and cultivate the best holiday period for their family it can be a time where memories are made that aren't positive and what you would desire as a result of not navigating this time in the best way.

Below are 5 ways to help you hopefully have a smoother Easter time for you and the family.

(1) Plan to fail, fail to plan - Spend some time to look ahead and plan what the holidays are going to require from you in terms of time, demands upon you and your children or relatives needs. If from previous experience you know that your children demand a lot of your time, attention or care then trying to ignore this fact is going to set you up for failure. Maybe transitions from non holiday to holiday time is challenging and lack of ordinary routine may affect them, or you then you need to plan for this.

Trying to continue working full time as you would when they aren't in your company or do your normal activities all the time as if say they are normally at school or college is probably not going to be possible or realistic in the same way as normal, so you have to plan for this. As much as you may not like this fact, acceptance that this is part of how you will have to adjust things over the holiday period will allow you to make the changes you need to take some pressure off day to day. In doing so you will reduce potential flash points and potential for crises to occur and also how you feel within about these times.

(2) Embrace imperfection - Life is happening right around you, in every moment. Constantly trying to make everything perfect or clean and tidy will be a never ending battle and again probably not realistic. Try and relax into the imperfection that is part of being a family along with the freedom mentally and physically that will provide you with, even if just a little. Trying to have too much control over every little thing will bring excessive stress and internal pressure and lack of enjoyment for you and those around you will make everyone uncomfortable. Try to adopt the mindset and understanding that not everything will go to plan - and that is ok! Even if it feels like you're the only ones ging through this know that you're not.

(3) Support and spoons - Something that hardly ever gets spoken about or considered is the amount of energy it takes when looking after children on holiday periods, no matter what age they are. Even if you're not doing any extravagant activities or days out just being around others who demand a lot of you physically - whether that's gathering 100 snacks every half an hour, accommodating extra young people in your house, being taxi driver, trying to entertain them or being exposed to excessive levels of noise for a prolonged period of time, it can all take from you in ways you may not realise until after you have been affected.

So sit and plan for what is realistic and manageable for you. Set your boundaries and communicate these to others - and stick to them. Just because other parents seem to be able to do it all at holiday time doesn't mean that they are or indeed that you have to - stop comparing and start planning for what suits you and your family. See how you can prioritise important essential tasks and activities and then let the other things go to free up time and energy. Communicate with others around you about what you need - and what support may look like for you to reduce stress. Social contact is really important so ensure as a parent you're not isolated and you do have some contact with other adults over the holidays - be that in person, on the phone or online.

(4) Get real - Time to re evaluate your expectations. Make sure you are entering the holiday period with your own agenda and not someone else's. How others choose to celebrate Easter or not is their own business, all you have to focus on is doing things your way. If that means letting go of some expectations you have of yourself or what your family "should" be doing or comparing yourself and your family to others - take some time to really consider why this is and if it's serving you - or maybe consider it might be time to let some things go. Remind yourself this is your family holiday and you are also allowed to enjoy it too! That can mean making your own rules up for how this happens, not how others or you previously think it should be. Things change and grow, times change and you need to be flexible to this too.

(5) Nothing lasts forever - Look at the period of time this is for and remind yourself as difficult as it might be, as disruptive as it potentially might be that this is for a certain period of time, and there is an end to it. You will not need to alter things forever and your children will also grow and in time things will change. As hard as it is when you are in it, time passes. Your mindset will make a huge difference towards how you experience things and how you react to things as they occur. Ensure you allow time to be spontaneous, really be present with your children and connect with them, even if that is just in little snippets of time - it all counts. It's quite often in the simple activities and moments in life that the most meaningful memories and experiences occur and at the end of the day your children require your presence no matter what age they are, so make sure when you can that you're really with them, not one eye on your mobile or checking emails every 5 minutes.

Readjustment to how you navigate the holidays will help you to feel more empowered and be more present with your family. You are the only person who can take control of how this Easter is for you and your family so make sure it is one that works for you. Take the pressure off yourself and ensure that you make self care and having fun and relaxing in your own way a priority.