Twenty-five Terrific Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

Twenty-five Terrific Tips to Reduce Holiday Stress

An informal poll by The Positive Way™ revealed that many adults today feel that December is the most stressful and sometimes the most lonely month of the year. The turkey is not even cold from Thanksgiving dinner and it’s time to jump into the year end holiday rush. Gift buying, kids, parties, parents, trees, spouses, traditions, in-laws, money, and expectations can tend to create holiday blues. Time, patience, privacy, space, and money get tighter and tighter in this time of giving. Here are some positive tips to help you reduce stress and put more of the true holiday spirit and joy into your holiday season.

  • Make a good list. Be grateful. Take a moment to list the good things that you have and the good that have done. Stop thinking about what’s missing. Rejoice in what you have.

  • Say “No.” Make choices about what you have time and energy to do. Take care of the most important things first and say “no” to the unimportant. Use a priority list as a guide.

  • Say “yes” to yourself and your family. Keep the priority where it belongs…at home.

  • Don’t expect too much. The only way you can be disappointed is to expect more than you receive. Be reasonable.

  • Give gifts that cost no money. The best things in life are free. Give the gift of your time and your self to those who need you. The giving will make you feel better. Start at home and then go to your pastor or the United Way volunteer center (887-2690) to find someone who needs you. You will never be alone as you share your love and caring with others.

  • Take mini-breaks. When your schedule is overwhelming and you cannot seem to find an hour for yourself, take five minutes. Turn off the phones, shut off other distractions, pick one good item from your “good list” to reflect on, close your eyes, and relax.

  • Go shopping with other mothers to share your resources. Car-pool to cut down on the stress of driving. Share your lists and team-shop with each person assigned to one area of a store. Combine a social event with the task of shopping.

  • Have a gift-wrapping party with friends. Share the supplies and the job with friends and a cup of hot cider.

  • Address your holiday cards early and/or make it a team project.

  • Have a family meeting. Share what really matters to each of you and the family at this time of the year. Agree how you can all share in the work and the fun. Create new family traditions such as special family meals or other events that everyone contributes to.

  • Fall back on old traditions if they are comfortable for everyone. Use the same decorations and the same rituals so you do not have to invent new ones. Enjoy the moment and reflect on the good times.

  • Fight holiday loneliness. Call or visit your friends and family. Invite them to share your holiday with you even in little ways. Invite someone to share a holiday meal.

  • Remember your past. Sometimes the holidays were so much fun you miss them now. Sometimes they were painful in some way. Sometimes we mourn the loss of dear ones. Neither repress the memories nor live in them as that can make today very difficult. Remember the past, put it into today’s perspective, and move on.

  • Forget about keeping up with the Jones’s. Don’t try to keep up with others. It’s an impossible task and in the end it’s not what you own but how you feel that matters. Love and understanding bring joy to the world, not another toy.

  • Create a gift budget and stick to it. Don’t stress yourself out by spending more than you can afford. Budgets are great for families, friends and groups such as work or social organizations. Put a comfortable cap on all expenditures.

  • Say “thank you” if someone unexpectedly gives you a gift. Avoid the guilt and focus on the thanks.

  • Share the holiday chores among family members.

  • Shop for someone who could really use your help. It will reduce their stress.

  • Stay home instead of traveling if that is what you want to do. Invite your parents and in-laws to your home for a change. Have them each bring part of a holiday dinner so it’s a shared event. Sometimes it’s hard for adult children to tell their parents that they now need to have their own traditions for their own family.

  • Enjoy a cup of hot cider, cocoa, or de-cafe coffee for a break. Enjoy the relaxation of a warm drink on a cold day without the caffeine jitters.

  • Have your car cold weather serviced. Then you won’t have to worry about it breaking down. While you’re at it, put winter emergency supplies like sand, salt, flares, gloves, and a blanket in the trunk.

  • Buy yourself a massage or trade one with a friend. Short chair massages are inexpensive, no trouble, and feel great. Short of time? Just give a hug.

  • Exercise more frequently. Exercise is one of the best stress busters going. When you’re short of time with too much to do, move your exercise routine up on your priority list. You’ll feel better and get more done afterwards.

  • Buy a family gift instead of big individual gifts. You don’t have to break traditions but you can create new ones. Budget a smaller amount for individual gifts and agree to a common gift that you will all enjoy. The common gift may be inexpensive like a family outing that each person helps to plan and bring about.

  • Sing along with the carols and other Christmas music. The lyrics are happy and soon you will feel better too. This is the one time of year when you don’t have to sing on key.

  • Pool your family gift funds and give them to charity. Share cards with sentiments and good wishes instead of gifts. Then enjoy the holidays spending time together without the stress of worrying about gift giving.

  • Forgive someone; especially yourself. With no expectation give forgiveness and move on. Each day is a new day and the New Year is a great time to start.

  • Reconnect with your faith. Leave guilt and concerns at the door and use the holiday spirit to enrich your faith.

In the rush of the holiday season please take time for yourself and your family. It’s not the gifts, the toys, the parties, or the decorations that matter. The true spirit of Christmas and the New Year is love, acceptance, understanding, giving, and a new beginning. It is a time of thanks; not regret.

NOTE: Many times when we have loneliness and holiday stress there is some overlooked forgiveness that needs to take place in order for us to move forward and feel better about ourselves.  See our article on forgiveness by following this link

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