The holidays are a joyous time of celebration, but if we’re not careful, the extra activity can take its toll on our peace of mind. Here are five tips to help you avoid holiday stress:
1. Take care of yourself.
If you aren’t well-rested and properly nourished, you’re creating fertile ground for holiday stress. Get plenty of sleep and don’t overindulge at dinners and parties. Eliminate or limit the spirits, too. Alcohol is a depressant, which can quickly turn your celebration into a pity party.
2. Don’t overextend your budget.
Set realistic expectations for your children long before Christmas morning. Determine your holiday budget and stick to it. Lots of family and friends? Draw names instead of buying for each person. Consider giving certificates for services such as babysitting or a home-cooked meal. Remember, life goes on after December 25!
3. Resist the need to please everyone.
When we do things for others grudgingly, what could have been a loving act becomes stressful. If you want to spend the holiday at home instead of visiting family, or you don’t feel like cooking your famous macaroni and cheese this year, just say so. They’ll get over it!
4. Honor your relationships.
The holidays often serve as a painful reminder of those we miss – either because of distance, dissolution, or death. Reflect fondly on the memories of those who aren’t with you, and more important, celebrate and appreciate those who are.
5. Embrace family…whatever it looks like.
Every family comes with its share of dysfunction. You can wear yourself out trying to make Uncle Junior “get it together”, or you can learn to love him just the way he is – even if that means loving him from a distance.
If you don’t have biological family to share the holidays with, enjoy time with friends or look for opportunities to bring joy to someone else by volunteering.
When proactively managed, the season can be a source of joy, relaxation and a great opportunity to create new memories and traditions. Don’t let the past or external expectations take the happy out of your holidays!