Deal With Your Holiday Stress

We’re heading into the holidays, and your may feel pulled in many directions, leading to stress. There’s always work and regular life such as shopping, laundry, cooking and cleaning, plus, there’s gift shopping, traveling, special menus to plan and prepare and the special stress of seeing and handing some relationships that may not be so easy. But some good news is that even with all that going on, there are some simple strategies to pull it all off and relax more and more.

Right below are effective ways to handle the holidays stress. You may even find them working so enough that you decide to use them all year long!

  1. Recognize that you don’t have to get things “perfect.” When you see commercials and movies portraying families and presents and meals as all beautiful and postcard-perfect, Let It Go, take a deep breath, and relax!

Allow yourself to enjoy some holiday time, whether or not you can find the right holiday napkins or not. People don’t need the prettiest napkins, they want some time together.

If a pie is baked a minute too long or the cranberries are a little off, very few people will notice… and they may not care at all. They probably will just want to talk with you.

  1. Plan ahead and prepare food and other preparations ahead of time. What if all the gift were purchased and wrapped in October, and you had more free time in December?
    1. Remember to plan the menus themselves ahead of time, so that you make the shopping easy enough to just do quickly.
    2. Stretching holiday plans out over longer periods of time mean more relaxing, conversation, and family time during the holidays.
    3. Maybe be more “reasonable” and practical with the holiday schedule. This may e easier said than done, since adults remember their childhoods and want to provide “all the best” for their own kids all while their own kids have new expectations. But dialing down the plans really pays off in happiness and presence “in the now,” which is where we want to be to enjoy ourselves and family.
  2. It comes down to remembering that you don’t have to re-create your own childhood memories. New and different memories for different people (your kids or family) in a different (the now) are good things!
    • Stick with the old stand-by: “It’s the thought that counts.” In most cases, re-creations of your own childhood experiences don’t quite go the way they are intended, and it can take a lot of effort. People are much more likely to remember relaxing time with family during the holidays.
    • Find ways to save time. There are usually ways to get things done that will save effort and time.
    • For example, instead of baking the pies the way grandma or mom used to do, go ahead and pick them up from a bakery that’s know to make good pies. Save that time, spend it with your people, and reduce your stress.
    • During shopping, let yourself consider gift cards as presents. Polls show that most people appreciate the chance to get what they want with a card. They’re easy to find and buy, and all you need is a card or wrapping paper to make it look good! Gift cards are all gain, no pain!
  3. Carefully select what you really want to invest time in. Consider what the holidays really mean, and express that in your activities together. Keep in mind that the consumerism is a distraction from your family time. The family together means more than the gifts!
    1. Sure, some people are all about the shopping. Consider what values that a lot of shopping communicates to others, though.
    2. Drop the idea that you need to plan and perfect outlandish holiday events, whether office parties or family dinners. Would you rather have a smaller, more connected gathering, one where you and others can truly talk and listen, rather than a very busy, loud, active and disconnected, fancy affair?
    3. A powerful way to teach your children the meaning of the holidays as giving and generosity is to visit charities of those in need, especially volunteering to serve meals at a soup kitchen.

Make this the year to handle your holiday stress. Let go of your need to get it all done perfectly, and with a smile. You’ll gain connection with friends and family and much more memories along the way. 

Take a moment to ponder what you really want the holidays to mean for you and your family. When you know what you want the holidays to really men, you are empowered to be deliberate about your choices, rather than acting in habit, or fear of not meeting your own pas expectations, or those of others. From this viewpoint, you’re free from the past, and strengthened to create beautiful memories for your family. Isn’t this what you really want from the holiday season?

What are the ways you have lightened your stress during the holidays? Please share them!