How to Avoid Holiday Stress
The holidays are here and with it the potential for CRAZINESS! No matter how much we pep talk ourselves about how this year will be different we end up the same frazzled, crabby mess during the holidays. It’s because we take on too much. Society pressures, family pressures, our own expectations all collide and we end up feeling overwhelmed and often inadequate. In order to help avoid holiday stress here are my 5 tips for a healthier, more relaxed, more enjoyable season this year.
Ask yourself honestly, what must happen for you and your family to have a happy holiday? This is an essential step. Get down to the heart of the season and really think about this. What are the most important traditions and what can you cut out? Call this your list of Holiday Essentials. This is where maybe you decide you don’t need to send out a homemade card and letter to 450 of your closest friends. Maybe this year you send 50 or skip it all together. The year I finally decided I couldn’t take the added work load of sending out holiday cards was the year I began to really enjoy the holidays. It was just too much.
2. Get Organized
Get a calendar, electronic or paper, sit down with your list of prioritized events and tasks and realistically plan when the work will happen. This is when reality sets in, and it’s ok. You need reality to set in now if you are to avoid the potential chaos later. This is when you might realize it’s not actually possible to achieve everything you had your heart set on. Remember the goal, to avoid holiday stress.
3. Let Go
Traditions hold tightly to our heart strings, so they are naturally hard to let go of. But what if the pressure to preserve holiday traditions outweighs the joy? This is why many of us struggle during this time of year. We need to allow ourselves to let go of the things where the stress has begun to outweigh the joy. Instead of mourning the loss of a tradition or two celebrate the fact that there will be more time to enjoy what truly matters, each other.
I have a decorator friend who announced to her family and friends in early November that she would not be decorating her home for Christmas this year. After too many years of over-the-top commitment to an entire house transformation during the holidays she finally realized it had become a burden and the opposite of joy. She took charge to avoid holiday stress. She was an example for me to write this blog post!
4. Simplify and Say “No”
During the holidays we tend to go overboard with entertaining, parties, events and invitations. This year try to say no to at least one, maybe more. Look at your calendar reasonably and decide in advance. Also, it will make it easier to say no when your holiday to-do list is already scheduled with your pre-planning.
5. Maintain healthy habits
With all the parties and food-related holiday traditions it can be easy to side-track your normal healthy eating, drinking, and exercise habits. Make an extra effort to stick to those healthy habits. Commit to moderation in drinking. Plan your exercise in your calendar, even if it’s just a brisk walk. We need it more than ever to stay physically and mentally fit.
Avoid holiday stress and create your best holiday ever!
The holidays should be a time for peace, joy, and togetherness. It should be focused on celebrating the birth of Christ. Somehow, our modern society has gotten side tracked with the strong pull of marketing campaigns, focus on materialism, and pressure to outdo one another. When we take on too much we can’t enjoy the people. The special moments of simple joy pass right by us because we are too tired or too overwhelmed to be present.
It takes a conscious effort to remind ourselves of what truly matters. Choose your most treasured traditions and make an effort to prioritize and simplify… you just may find yourselves having the best holiday ever!
God Bless and Happy Holidays,