It’s the most wonderful time of the year, so why are you so stressed out?
The winter holidays come with their own unique set of factors that can trigger stress: fatigue, high expectations, holiday parties, commercialization, loneliness, family, and money woes to name a few.
Here are some tips to lessen your odds of coming down with the “holiday blues”:
Don’t shop ’til you drop. Decide in advance what the gift-giving protocol is going to be. Will the family be buying gifts for everyone or just the kids? Will you do a gift exchange with a predetermined spending amount? Would a White Elephant gift be more fun? Knowing how many people you have to shop for ahead of time will keep you out of the stores and keep your money in your wallet!
Don’t try to out Martha Stewart Martha Stewart. Getting your home festive for the holidays should feel fun during the process, not just at the finish line. Focus on creating a feeling of warmth keeping all of the five senses in mind e.g. festive colors, aromatic candles, holiday music, a signature drink, and cozy pillows, but try to let go of the need for perfection. Your friends and family won’t expect your home to look like the set of a movie. Neither should you.
Say yes to tasty holiday treats. You heard right. Yes. Go ahead and sample your co-workers caramelized pear, bacon and praline tarts at the company party. What you should try to avoid, though, is stacking your plate with regular, run-of-the mill, available-every-day-of-the-year food. If you’ve tasted one NY cheesecake you’ve tasted them all. A layered pumpkin, cream cheese and chocolate flourless cake, on the other hand…
Call a 24-hour moratorium on family grudges. Your beef with your brother, sister, mom isn’t going to magically disappear because of the date on the calendar. You will have to deal with the issues eventually, but before you are actually in the situation start to think about how you might calmly address or redirect the topic if it should come up. Being the bigger person is probably going to work in your favor.
Tap in to your support network. Spend time with friends and family especially the ones that seem to be in a slightly better place than you. This is one instance where you should not give in to the old adage that “misery loves company.” Being around a friend or loved one that can lift your spirits, make you forget about all the things that you still need to get done, and just remind you to breathe is going to do much more for your well-being than someone who will swap mall-parking horror stories with you.