family drama? How to keep your mental health intact over the holidays – NBC 6 South Florida

We all know that the holidays can be either the most magical time of the year or the most stressful.

From heated political debates with family to busy calendars with back-to-back holiday celebrations, this time of year could spell chaos for just about anyone.

Moms With a Mic’s Julia Bagg sat down with Kenerly Wright, owner of Kid Create studio, and Monica Snyder, marriage and family therapist, to discuss simple strategies for maintaining your mental health this holiday season.

According to Snyder, everything is planned.

I’m already starting to look to the next six or so weeks and I’m like, okay, what can we realistically visit? I’m already starting to buy and wrap presents so Christmas Eve isn’t going to be a crazy night,” Snyder said make pleasant.”

Planning activities in advance or purchasing tickets to many holiday events in advance can not only make for a less stressful season, but can also save you a few bucks in the process.

Brightline have just launched their Polar Express train for the holiday season,” said Wright. “If you buy early and get those tickets early, you might actually get a better price on them than waiting weeks or even days in advance. So it really helps us with planning and also helps our pockets.”

Snyder also suggested that one way to ensure a more enjoyable holiday season is to set clear expectations with family members about what the holiday will be like, the timing of the event, and any special needs you will have to meet during this time of year.

“The internet has allowed us to have these really idealistic expectations of vacations,” Snyder said. “Publishing those expectations will be very helpful for the family to be able to meet them.”

In the event of a heated or difficult discussion with the family, Snyder recommended a practice she called de-stressing — taking a moment to stop and diffuse a situation without adding pressure or intensity to the situation.

“We as a society are so triggered by people and what they’re saying, rather than being able to stop and listen,” Snyder said. “And so sometimes people start a conversation and we already have a guess as to what they’re going to say and where they’re going, and we feel the need to respond. When we come here, we’ll see that it’s okay to disagree. And because we’ve been able to stay calm and listen, we can actually have a pleasant conversation whether we agree or not.

Wright noted that it’s also important to remember that children are also aware of these interactions as they happen.

“You really just have to think about why you’re there and that it’s family time,” Wright said. “Think, is now the time or the place? What kind of example are you giving them? What are we showing them in the way we talk to each other or in the way we engage?

By staying calm and setting clear boundaries during the holidays, communication among loved ones can be more fluid and less stressful.

But despite the rush of the season, one thing that can add to the craze can be getting kids involved in the Christmas kitchen.

Bagg, Snyder and Wright have all taken to the kitchen this season and shared easy yet delicious recipes to make with your own kids this holiday season. Remember, the mess is part of the fun.

Julia’s simple green bean casserole


  • 1 can (~10 oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 4 cups cooked green beans (fresh, frozen, or canned)
  • 1-1/2 cups fried onions, divided
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Combine soup, milk, salt and pepper in a 1 1/2 liter casserole dish
  • Stir in beans and 1 cup fried onions
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until hot
  • stir
  • Top with remaining 1/2 cup onions
  • Bake for 5 minutes or until onions are golden brown

Wright family pizza recipe


  • Fresh Pizza Dough – The Wrights usually buy Publix’s folded dough from the open fridge in the bakery department. (You should let this sit at room temperature for about an hour before starting to prepare.)
  • 3 to 4 ounces. of pasta sauce
  • 8 ounces. fresh mozzarella per cake (ball or pearls)
  • Meat toppings (desired amount)
  • Vegetable ingredients as desired (chopped or diced mushrooms, bell peppers (any color), jalapeno peppers, red or white onions, spinach, and tomatoes)
  • For the crust: butter, garlic powder, and dry Italian seasoning


  • Preheat oven to 415 degrees
  • Open the folded dough on a non-stick pizza pan
  • Poke small holes in the dough with a fork to prevent air bubbles from forming
  • Use a pastry brush to spread plenty of pasta sauce over the dough
  • Next add your meat. *It seals better if you put it under the cheese and not on top
  • Scatter the cheese all over the cake
  • Scatter the veggies over the pizza on top of the cheese
  • Roll the edges of the pizza inward to form the crust
  • Next, use the pastry brush to brush your crust with butter.
  • Sprinkle garlic powder and dry Italian seasoning on the crust. *You can also add this dry seasoning over the pizza for extra flavor
  • Finally, place your pizza on the middle shelf of the oven for 12-15 minutes.
  • Let pizza cool for 5 minutes.

Information on special diets: The crust can be substituted with gluten-free dough, and meat can be left out for a delicious veggie pizza pie

Snyder Family’s Apple Cider Donuts Recipe (courtesy of Raddish Kids)


  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup apple cider
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla


  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Spray donut molds (place on a baking sheet for single silicone)
  • In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • Heat butter in a microwave-safe bowl until melted
  • Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk until smooth
  • Add brown sugar, apple cider, vanilla, and melted butter to egg and whisk until well combined
  • Mix wet and dry ingredients
  • Fill donut molds almost full
  • Bake for 15-17 minutes
  • Heat the rest of the butter until melted
  • Mix together the sugar and cinnamon
  • Turn molds over and remove donuts
  • Dip both sides in butter and then in sugar and enjoy

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