While the holiday season can be a time for merriment and celebration, lets face it; it can also be a time for high levels of stress! Here’s a few ideas to help reduce your stress while making the holidays your own:
Free yourself from “tradition”.
We all have traditions for the holidays, “my grandmother always did this” or “my mother always bakes these cookies”, and that is great! But, getting bogged down in these traditions can be the most stressful part about the holidays. I am officially giving you permission to skip the traditions! Make up your own traditions or just pick 1-2 of the most important ones. Make the holidays special in a way that is meaningful and fulfilling to you specifically.
With Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, it’s difficult not to get caught up in the commercialism of it all. It seems like you start gift shopping and your bank account drops while your stress goes up, up, up. The most rewarding part of the holidays is donating your time and/or money to a few local organizations doing meaningful work in your community. Nothing helps put the holidays in perspective more than doing something charitable while connecting with your own community through a local non-profit organization.
To Do Lists…a blessing and a curse.
Lets be real, at best, you can only accomplish 2-3 holiday tasks in a day. With all your other responsibilities there just is not enough time. If you’re like me, you create a daunting 20-item list of holiday chores to do, and then obsess and stress over not getting them all accomplished. Start by picking the top three items that are most important to you, (i.e. one decoration item, holiday cards, one type of cookie) and then make sure you get those few items done. You will feel a lot more satisfaction this way.
Family is Family.
The best and worst thing about the holidays can be family. You come together in close quarters, as everyone sits on edge because of the stress from their 20 item to do list they have not yet finished, and then they want to comment on your life choices. Why aren’t you married yet? When are you having children? When are you having another child? Why is there dog hair everywhere? It’s easy to snap, because family seems to always know how to ask that question, you know the one that just sends you over the edge. So prepare yourself before your family arrives. Being in the right frame of mind can go a long way to helping you enjoy the special time. Being with family is really what the holidays are about. I repeat being with family is what the holidays are about, create a mantra for yourself. You may have to repeat this to yourself several times, with or without a large glass of wine. But having a peaceful mindset before you start will make it a lot easier to cope.
Living in the moment
If you’re constantly trying to get that picture perfect moment, you’re missing out on the part that is really important; living and being present with your family. Put down the camera or phone and become in engaged in the moment. You will find your level of stress goes way down, when you are simply living and not looking for your next perfect Facebook picture. Just stop, take a deep breath, and take in the special memories you are making.