stress. Isn’t that a contradiction in terms? How can you allow yourself to
feel stressed, when holidays are supposed to be fun and relaxing, a break from
the hurly-burly of daily life?
there you have it – in this harried modern world of ours, life gets
increasingly complicated. Come the Christmas season, when you should be enjoying
and taking time off to be with family and friend, there are things you need to
do: presents to buy, gifts to wrap, a house to decorate, holiday meals to
prepare, even parties to attend. All these activities can be stressful for many.
biggest potential stress is, of course, financial. People complain about the
frenzy because the ritual of holiday gift-giving is an important ritual that
allows them to affirm their social and family ties.
a few guidelines to consider as you make your holiday preparations.
a holiday mission statement.
To get the kind of holiday celebration you want - and decrease holiday stress -
start by writing a mission statement.
a family write down what you want your holiday experience to focus on. For
example, having fun time together, getting plenty of rest and relaxation, or
helping the less fortunate. Post this 'holiday mission statement' where all
family members can see it.
you start feeling frustrated or stressed, read your mission and ask yourself if
what you're doing is what you want your holiday to be like. Concentrate your
efforts on those activities that make your holiday mission a reality.
Eliminate holiday traditions that have lost their meaning for you. This allows
you to focus on family and relaxation - the two things that holidays are all
this fast times, less is more. Instead of New Year's resolutions, make Christmas
resolutions: limit mall shopping and parties. Have more meaningful Christmas
giveaways. No more feeling guilty about not being able to host sumptuous parties
for your friends and relatives.
do things you don't want to do. Stress is something we do to ourselves. Want
relief? Loosen up. If you've bee invited somewhere, decide if it’s something
you want to do or not. Don't stay at a party until your enthusiasm has worn out.
If you drive, bring your own car so you can leave whenever you want to.
early and wisely.
Shop early. How often have we heard that one? That's because shopping early does
decrease the stress of having to jostle with the crowds during the Christmas
how early is early? How about spreading the task over a year? Start with the
after-Christmas sales in late December, you'll find great bargains there.
Throughout the year, when you see something that someone you know might like,
buy it. Come the holiday season, you will have few, if not zero, Christmas gifts
out of the kitchen.
Stop trying to do it all. You deserve to enjoy your time off, too, instead of
just cooking, serving, cleaning and hosting until it's suddenly time to go back
to work. When hosting family or friends for the holidays, don't be afraid to ask
guests to bring their favorite dishes. This cuts down on the stress of one
person preparing the whole dinner.
can even host a simple get-together. Instead of serving a full dinner, schedule
the party for early afternoon or after dinner, and just serve finger foods and
drinks. Choose foods that can be prepared ahead and refrigerated. Plan some
interesting activity and voila! You have a memorable party with less stress.
aside a special weekend for the family bake-out. To make things easier, take a
poll of your family and friends' favorite cakes and pastries and bake only the
top two preferences. You may discover that someone else can take your place as
the baker in the family.
the other hand, don't be compelled to bake or cook up a feast every year just
because your family and friends expect you to. If you'd rather sit back and
enjoy the holidays, order food and pastries from a good bakery or restaurant.
try for the perfect holiday.
Forget about keeping up with the Joneses. Trying to copy the perfect country
Christmas motifs you see in glossy magazines may frustrate you. One of the best
techniques for making the holidays less stressful is to create new and unique
memories instead of trying to recreate the holidays of your past - or the
holidays of other people's past.
your body, clear your mind.
Anxiety leads to depression, which can become more pronounced around the holiday
season. There is no doubt that exercise helps some people keep problems at bay.
Exercise helps burn away a lot of the stress that comes with the season as well
as the occasional bouts of depression. Who knows, it might be just the headstart
you need for your exercise regimen in the New Year.
gain can also be a source of stress, so try to make a point to exercise
regularly and be very active during the holidays. That way you can enjoy the
occasional cookie, pie or other sweets that come with the season and not feel so
helpless about gaining weight.
and some peace and quiet can help you stay in the holiday mood. When you start
feeling overwhelmed by the preparations, it's time to find an isolated corner,
sit still, close your eyes and clear your thoughts of everything that still has
to be done. Sometimes just taking a step back and appreciating what you've
already accomplished helps.
a prayer … alone.
Stop for a minute and say a short prayer. Thank god for all your blessings.
get off the stress wagon and don't forget that you're supposed to be having fun!