|Posted on December 9, 2016 at 1:45 PM||comments (0)|
How can we manage holiday stress and have more joy?
We often have higher expectations for this season than any other time of the year. When day to day life conflicts with making the holiday season perfect...stress results.
Both the expectations we place on ourselves (to make the holidays perfect for our family) and the expectations we place on others are often unrealistic, unattainable and lead to disappointment and frustration. A valuable self-reflection exercise is to write down exactly what you expect from yourself and from your family during the holidays.
Decide what is really important and what is not.
Are you overextending yourselves with social invitations and holiday parties? Don’t overschedule yourself. Allow enough time to relax and recover after visiting others. Simplify holiday commitments and traditions and discuss this with your family. Set priorities and let go of impossible goals.
Finding the perfect gift for someone can be time consuming and stressful. A simpler approach is to ask the person what they want. Consider picking names and limiting gifts to certain dollar amounts to prevent overspending. Another option is having a group gift such as a gift for the parents or for the siblings or for a family as a whole, rather than individual gifts for everyone.
If your family gifting practices are something you want to change, talk with your family members about your feelings. They may feel the same way. You might suggest donating money to a charity one year rather than buying presents for each other. There are many creative ways to handle the gifting traditions of this season. Be open and flexible to new ideas.
Family interactions can be challenging during the holidays. People in general are not going to behave any different on Christmas than from how they are the rest of the year. Be realistic about your expectations of them. Focus on their strengths and accept them as they are. If you don’t agree on certain subjects be willing to acknowledge that everyone has their own perspectives. Agree to disagree rather than make each other wrong.
Listen to your body and rest when you need to. Often we forego exercise routines and good eating habits because of holiday parties and time constraints. Rest, nutritious food, and exercise are your armour against the stress of the season. Be sure to keep those in place! Make time for self care practices such as yoga, massage, meditation, and walks in nature. They will help you stay joyful and grounded.
Stop to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Do things that bring you joy. Celebrate and appreciate yourself!