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How to Combat Holiday Stress

Welcome to the Holiday Season!

A time of joy, love, laughter, and… stress.

It’s the time of year when there’s so much to do in so little time.

Between scheduling, decorating, shopping, baking, and cooking it can feel like your to-do list is endless.

Sometimes you get so caught up in the planning that you forget what this time of year is truly about...

Being thankful.

Thankful that you have friends and family to share it with, thankful that you have delicious food to eat, and thankful that you can give gifts to your loved ones.

But rather than focusing on being thankful, our thoughts tend to lean more towards:

“Shoot, I forgot to buy pudding at the grocery store. UGH, I’m so tired of going back to that place.”

“Oh no! I can’t afford that gift that he wants. He’s going to be so sad.”

“I’m going to ruin the holiday dinner. I can hear the smoke alarms going off in my head already.”

To some, these thoughts are inevitable, but when we remember the reason for the season, we can let go of all the pressures that society puts on us during this time.

So as your to-do list continues to grow and your thoughts continue to run, how can you handle the stress while still enjoying the season?

Take a Moment to Pause

We know you have endless things to get done so that everyone feels special during this holiday season. But it’s important to remember that you need to enjoy your holiday season as well.

Maybe you get satisfaction from buying gifts, baking, or planning, but there’s a sense of peace that can come from pausing in the midst of the craziness.

Schedule moments for yourself where you can do things that you enjoy. Whether it’s sitting by the fireplace (or the warm oven) to read a book or enjoying a cup of tea with a friend.

These small moments of relaxation can help you not only be more productive when you need to be, but also serve to remind you that you’re allowed to enjoy this season as well.

Schedule in Family Time

Everyone talks about family during this time of year, but it’s amazing how quickly quality family time can be pushed to the side.

The parents have their groups and friends they want to see, the children come back from college and want to catch up with old classmates, and the kids? Well… “who knows where they are. I told them to entertain themselves outside for a while.”

When I’m talking about quality family time, I’m not referring to everyone being at the house at the same time while some are playing video games, one’s baking, and the other has been on the phone for hours.

I mean quality.

Doing something as a unit to bring everyone together. Now, you may need to be a bit more creative this year with the closures but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible!

Going on family walks, eating dinner together, or buying random board games to figure them out together can all be easy ways to make simple memories.

You think it’s the gifts or the food that people remember, but let’s be honest, the majority of people have zero clue what they got during the holiday season last year.

What they will be remembering is the moments of laughter, the unexpected conversations, and let’s be honest... sometimes the random arguments that stem from the moments spent together.

So whether it’s spending more time with the friends that have now become your family or the family that’s always been your family, enjoy those moments together and be intentional.

Be Willing to Accept Help

Not everyone can relate to this next section, but some of you readers… well, we really need to chat.

The pressure to perform has always been apart of our biological nature, survival of the fittest has never really left us.

Pair that innate nature with the societial pressures around this time of year and things can get a bit… hectic.

If your to-do list is endless, if you are feeling stressed and feel like you’re the ONLY person that can get these things done, then I have a big news flash for you...

You’re doing too much, and believe me, other people can do these things too.

Learn to delegate tasks to others to relieve some pressure.

Keep in mind, if you pass the reigns onto someone else they might not get it done the same exact way that you would’ve, but it still gets done none the less.

If you’re hosting a dinner, have someone else bring the sides or the desserts.

If you’re shopping list is endless but you’re trying to stay within budget, have everyone take part in a secret santa gift exchange instead.

Other people are willing to help you (the majority of the time), you just have to be willing to ask AND to accept their help.

Be Flexible

If there’s one thing we’ve learned this year, it’s the importance of staying flexible.

We can apply this lesson to the holiday season as well.

You’ve been looking forward to all of your holiday traditions and now you’re realizing that some of them won’t be happening.

Maybe one of your family members won’t be able to come this year due to travel restrictions, maybe someone gets sick, or maybe you’re favorite restaurant is closed.

It can be disappointing when things don’t go as planned or something unexpectedly changes, and it’s okay to feel sadness, anger, or frustration.

But once you’ve identified your feelings and you realize there’s no solution to the situation, you can adapt.

Whether this means starting a new tradition or Zooming with the person that won’t make it, going with the flow will be the only way to stay calm in the midst of chaos.

So as your holiday season begins to get crazier and crazier remember to slow down and take the time to enjoy.

Be grateful for the people that you’re surrounded by and always remember the reason for the season.

Happy Holidays!

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