Endless parties, rounds of shopping, constant baking, daily cleaning, and unending guests can often squash your holiday spirit. If you want to make sure your holidays are as cheerful as the the festive moments portrayed on TV, you need to realize stress can undermine your holiday cheer, and holiday stress is based on three main triggers.
When the holiday season hits, demands, finances, and relationships can trigger stress and take you over the edge. The way to beat stress is to understand the triggers, so you can better prepare yourself to deal with them. That way you can preserve your holiday cheer rather than encourage the grinch to appear.
- Demands. The holidays are known for shopping and socializing, and it’s hard to keep up with all the demands to be everywhere and be everything to everyone. It can make you feel exhausted and overwhelmed. Moreover, with schedules disrupted and rich and fattening foods to dine on, it can make everyone feel out of sorts and irritable.
- Finances. Some people have finance problems throughout the year, but this year more and more American may feel the results of the bad economy. Overspending makes things worse because then you have to worry about whether or not you can meet your expenses. Furthermore, if you overspend, it can result in feelings of hopelessness and make you feel as if there’s no way to dig yourself out of debt.
- Relationships. Relationships can be stressful at any time, but particularly during the holidays. Family get-togethers, traveling, and spending time with one another can sometimes result in too much closeness. On the other hand, some people are alone for the holidays, and the absence of loved ones can exacerbate loneliness.
Now that you know the triggers for stress, your half way home. All you need now are the proper tools and the right approach. So, here’s eight stress busting tools, and I’ve gift-wrapped them just for you.
- Acknowledge How You Feel. There’s no reason to be happy if you’re not. Just because the holidays are a happy experience for some people, doesn’t mean you have to be happy too. Moreover, you can’t force happiness. If you’re unhappy and feeling depressed, seek help. Family members, relatives, friends, and religious, community, or social groups are available to listen and help.
- Don’t Overspend. There’s no reason you need to keep up to the Jonses. In fact, the Jonses may be more in debt than you realize. So, decide what you’re budget is and then stick to it. Sticking to a budget can encourage creativity, such as homemade gifts or services, such as free babysitting or doing errands for someone. In the long run, you’ll be happier for staying within your budget, and, you’ll probably find most people appreciate your thoughtful gift.
- Embrace Change. Life is not about routine and holding onto tradition no matter what happens. Be flexible and embrace change. Doing things different, can often be a relief. So, if something is no longer working or if it’s too stressful, let go of tradition and find other ways to make the holidays work.
- Forgive. Forgiveness is freeing, and it’s not about the other person. Rather it’s about letting go of things from the past that can’t be changed. Also, if another person gets upset or is irritable, let it pass. Remember, they may be feeling holiday stress too.
- Just Say No. People often feel they can’t say “no” and have to accommodate every demand. You are just as important as anyone else, so if you’re feeling stressed or if you don’t have time, say “no.” Try it, it’s freeing!
- Let Go of Perfection. Everything doesn’t need to be perfect. Relationships are more important than whether or not the ham or turkey baked too long. If something doesn’t turn out as planned, make it work anyway, and who knows the imperfection might be the very thing that makes your holiday season something to remember or causes a good laugh year after year.
- Organize and Plan. If you have a dozen things you need to do, the best way to accomplish them is to organize and plan ahead. Establish certain days to go shopping, bake, or wrap gifts. Also, try to prepare foods ahead of time. That way if you’ve forgotten something, you can easily remedy the situation. If you’re travelling, apply the same principle. Pack early, fill the car up with gas the day before, or arrive early at the airport. That way you’ll be less harried and can truly enjoy the trip.
- Relax. Going full bore with no rest, would make anyone stressful and unhappy. Every day, no matter how busy you are, take ten minutes and relax. Be alone with yourself and give yourself ten minutes of stress-free non-worry. If you find children or spouses make it difficult to be alone, take a walk, hide in the closet, or sit in your car. Ten minutes to yourself will recharge you, and you’ll find you can tackle life again with renewed energy.
So, now that you know the triggers, and now that you have eight ways to beat stress, it’s all up to you. You can make the holidays stress-free by being proactive—acknowledging how you feel, sticking to a budget, embracing change, forgiving, saying no, letting go of perfection, organizing and planning, and relaxing—and adding to the holiday cheer. Happy Holiday!