Even though we are just a few short days away from the beginning of Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve, it’s the time to have fun, get-togethers, plus do the shopping, baking, and cooking for everyone.
Yet…often this is the time when stress levels run high. Arguments break out and feelings are hurt.
As you gather with your family, friends, and coworkers this year, please keep these six ideas in mind to keep your enjoyment level high and your stress levels low.
Tips to Avoid Holiday Stress
- Put a check on your expectations.
Please remember this is a season of giving, not receiving. Just because you spent a hefty amount for a gift for your boss, don’t expect he or she will do the same. Let kindness be your theme this season.
- Take care of yourself.
In years past, I have tried to do too much during December and gotten myself run down. The last two holidays, I was sick and not much fun to be around. This year, I’ve vowed to:
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night
- Take breaks – go for walks, hit the gym, or go to my local coffee shop alone
- Keep up my exercise routine
- Breathe – slow down my breath, even for two-three minutes, a useful tool to keep things in perspective.
- Only say yes to those gatherings I want to attend
- Ask for help.
If you always ran the kids around, shopped for everyone in the family, wrapped every gift, baked, and cooked the entire holiday meal, AND worked full-time, perhaps this year is the perfect time to ask others for help. For example, you can:
- Stay in the moment.
Don’t worry or fret about what will happen at the office holiday party or your family dinner. Take one day at a time and stay engaged in every conversation.
- Set rules about controversial topics.
If your uncle likes to “stir the pot” by brining up lightning rod issues, talk to him beforehand and ask him not to do so. If needed, send out a group email about the banned topics. After all, you’re there to enjoy each other’s company and get caught up on each other’s lives, not debate politics or religious views. These boundaries will keep the family drama down to a damper.
- Don’t go over your holiday budget.
You may feel compelled to give a gift to someone you didn’t expect to receive a gift. Or your extended family agreed not to buy for everyone else, yet, when you get to the holiday dinner, your sister-in-law bought gifts for yourself and your family. These are awkward situations, but they don’t require a midnight dash to the store. Thank them for the present and receive it with grace, no guilt necessary.
The Final Word
Please remember the point of the season – to carry on family traditions, celebrate over a meal, ring in the New Year, and most of all – to have fun!
Putting your needs first, communicating your expectations and boundaries with family and co-workers can help make the holiday season enjoyable for everyone.
From my family and myself to you and yours, may you enjoy this period of peace and goodwill with limited stressful moments!