The holidays are a time for relaxation, indulging, spending time with family, laughing and having fun…right? So why is there so much stress around the holiday time? For some, it’s the misalignment of expectations reality or spending a concentrated amount of time with family.
For others is the spending on gifts or the pressure to put on the perfect holiday party or give the perfect gift. No matter your situation or struggle, keeping a few key tips in mind just might have you flourish and not just survive this holiday season.
1. Accept any monetary restraints that might be present in your life and keep in mind that you don’t have the buy the most expensive or perfect gift to make it a memorable and thoughtful one. Perhaps you want to give a framed photo or a thoughtful gift basket with things your gift receiver likes from a discount store this year. Sometimes, the most thoughtful gifts are the ones most remembered.
2. Don’t procrastinate shopping or planning for the holidays. Whenever possible, start making lists for yourself and breaking each list down into tasks. Just the act of getting the to-do list out of your head and onto paper (or a digital note) will be helpful in feeling less stressed and more organized. You can do this for meals, gifts, parties or even just chores or tasks you want to get accomplished.
3. Have a plan to deal with people or situations that challenge you. Have a difficult time communicating with your mother-in-law? Can’t stand that annual holiday party at your neighbors? Have a plan going into events like these for how to stay calm, enjoy your time and even escape gracefully if needed. Having a plan will instantly make you feel calmer and ready to tackle the event.
4. It’s okay to say no! Whatever your reasons, give yourself permission to say no to that extra party, the work expectation or request from a friend. When in doubt, you can always say something like “I would absolutely love to see you but we’re so busy right now preparing for the holidays. Let’s plan something for the new year!”.
5. Spend time giving your mind a break from the daily routine. If that routine is work, chores or other obligations- take some time during the holidays to unwind and let your mind take a mindful pause.
6. Do something for others. Giving back during the holidays can be a very rewarding experience. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, bake cookies for a friend, bring a meal to a family member in need, visit a nursing home, donate toys, offer to baby sit for a friend. Whatever moves you, giving back is a wonderful way to pay it forward and help your kids learn the value of supporting your fellow human.
7. Do something for yourself. Stay connected to those you love and care about. Take that bubble bath. Spend time wandering the aisles of your favorite store. Watch your favorite show. Take that long walk. If the holidays are about giving, don’t forget to give back to yourself and acknowledge all the hard work you put into the daily chores and joys of life.
From my heart, wishing you and your family a joyous and relaxing holiday season!