Unhectic Your Holidays
‘Tis the season of peace, love, and happiness, but studies show that more than 80% percent of us find the holiday season to be “somewhat” or “very” stressful. Take steps now to head off the stress that can take over the holidays.
Plan ahead and prioritize. There is no reward for trying to do everything or please everyone. By setting priorities and saying “no” to activities and gatherings that are less meaningful to you, you can proactively manage your holiday schedule.
Schedule everything, including your own self-care. Set aside specific times for shopping, cooking, baking, and wrapping so there are no last-minute surprises to derail your plans. Be sure to carve out times for your own relaxation, too – a reading break, a bubble bath, a quiet walk – whatever helps you de-stress. Consider it a holiday gift to yourself.
Set a budget and stick to it. Don’t let gift giving and entertaining become a financial burden that needs to be dealt with into the new year. Decide in advance what you can afford, then spend within your limits.
Focus on what you can control. The key to coping with holiday stress is to recognize what triggers you during the holidays. Oftentimes, it may be particular people or situations. While you can’t change what other people say or do, you can control how you react to it. Rehearse what you will say when relatives ask their perennial annoying questions, or if you get keyed up during the hours-long party that never seems to end, plan specific games or activities to release the stress. If your anxiety shows up when you are preparing the holiday meal, have jobs ready to delegate – setting the table, chopping a vegetable, filling glasses.
Remember what makes you happy. Now that you have thought ahead and determined what stresses you out during the holidays, think about what holiday activities make you feel happy. Is it baking? Is it spending time with your nieces and nephews? Or maybe it’s caroling? Whatever it is, be sure to include those activities in your schedule.
Add an extra measure of kindness. Most of all, remember to be kind to yourself and others. Everyone else in your life is likely to have their own holiday stressors, and we can all benefit from a little extra patience and understanding.