From Halloween until the New Year begins, demands escalate and stress mounts as we prepare to celebrate The Holidays. The seasonal stress we feel is often self-imposed as we strive for perfection by trying to give others what they want, draining us of the energy we require to make it through the season. We do too much, spend too much, and eat and drink too much. The holiday season has become one of “too much”, and the time is now to care of your whole self by taking charge of this year’s agenda.
- Decide What You Want – Take the lead by deciding on the type of holiday you want. Think about the traditions and activities that made you happy in past years and repeat them. Keep in mind those things that are important and ditch the rest.
- Make a List – After you have determined what you want from the holidays, follow Santa’s lead and make a list. Write down all that you want to accomplish between now and the end of the year, and then prioritize. Choose only those items that you really want to participate in, and say no to everything else. Organize your time and calendar by planning your activities in advance, and make sure you stick to the plan.
- Set Boundaries – Set a limit on how many parties you’ll give or attend; on how much time you are willing to spend in close quarters with friends and family; and on far you will travel and the length of time you will stay with difficult relatives. The holidays come but once a year, so spend time with people you enjoy and who supply you with positive energy.
- Don’t Strive for Perfection – Now comes the hard part – changing your own expectations. Give yourself permission to scale back on shopping, baking, sending out cards, and decorating. If these are important to you, find simple, creative ways to accomplish each task. Not only will you save time and energy but also money. The last thing you want to do in your quest for a stress-free holiday is to create a financial burden that will follow you into the New Year and beyond.
- Schedule in “Me Time” – Finally, if you want to achieve any sort of calm during this season of peace and goodwill, you need to take time for yourself. Go back to your “to-do” list and pencil in time for exercise and time alone to keep yourself energized and relaxed. Breathe away the stress, letting go of the things you cannot control. Because it is the season to be jolly, laugh! It’s good for the soul.
What do you do to help you survive the holidays?