The other morning I was having coffee with a friend, and we were sharing stories about our own sometimes intolerant parents. My friend has a grumpy and hard to please father that pushed one too many buttons this past Thanksgiving. “What did you bring those dishes for? What is that you made? It stinks!”
My friend snapped and replied “That’s it. I am not bringing anything for Christmas.” Her father replied “Why, I like your cookies.” To which she replied “I am not bringing cookies either because last year you complained that my sugar crystals were too big!”
Let’s face it. The holidays can be a stressful time of year. Emotions are high. We are interacting with more friend and family members than we normally do, and we are trying to pack more events, tasks, and expenses into an already full schedule and budget. It’s no wonder everyone gets crazed. But that is not what the holidays are all about, so let’s look at some ways to bust the stress, and enjoy the season.
1. Simplify the season. Sit down with a piece of paper and start asking yourself what can you do less of? Know what is super important to you during the holidays, and focus on that. Cut back on the things that are not as important. Think about doing less decorations, less presents, less Christmas cards, a simpler meal, or even spending less.
2. Let go of perfection and guilt. Everything doesn’t have to be prepared just perfectly, or the kids don’t have to have the “perfect” Christmas. And you don’t have to feel guilty if Aunt Betty sends you a Christmas card, and you don’t send her one in return. Or there is no reason to feel guilt because your neighbor’s yard is decked out in lights when you only have a few yard decorations. Let everyone else feel stress while you enjoy peace during this holiday season.
3. Plan in advance. The last minute procrastination will get you every time. Stretch your holiday out and enjoy the month of December by doing a little bit every day towards making your holiday plans come together. Do a little shopping. Wrap a few presents. Watch a holiday movie. Send out a few cards. Do a little decorating. You have plenty of time if you don’t wait until the last week before Christmas.
4. Have a budget and stick to it. Don’t create excess debt buying presents for everyone. Create a budget that works with your current income and expenses. If you can’t afford to buy presents for everyone, consider making something like cookies, bread, or a handmade ornament. You can also give a gift certificate donating your time – tell your friend or family member that you will do something special for them like have them over for a nice meal and a fun board game.
5. Go with the flow. There is bound to be something that doesn’t go as planned. This past Thanksgiving, my son Ian dropped one of our potato dishes on the sidewalk. The dish broke and our scrumptious potatoes never made it into our tummies. Expect these kinds of things to happen. Laugh it off, and know that it will make a good memory to talk about for years to come.
6. Don’t take anything personally. Most families have at least one relative that manages to make hurtful comments, or say things that are better left unsaid. If you are a “victim” of one of those comments, don’t take it personally. Remember, it’s not about you. Anything anyone says is always about the other person, even if it’s directed at you. Do your best to walk away and detach yourself emotionally.
7. Practice family self care. Make sure everyone in the family is getting plenty of sleep, and eating healthy. This is the time of year when viruses are going around, and the last thing you want is to be sick during the holidays. Wash your hands, drink plenty of water, and don’t forget to exercise.
8. Get rid of Super Mom. During the holidays or anytime, there is no place for the mom who thinks she needs to do it all herself. You won’t get a gold ribbon, or even special recognition for handling everything by yourself so you might as well enlist as many people as you can to help you. Don’t wait for people to figure out what you need, or to even ask you how they can help. Be a leader and delegate. Ask family members to bring dishes, or cater part of the food. Enlist help with shopping and wrapping. Hire a house cleaner to clean your house for the holidays. You will smile a whole lot more if you throw that cape in the trash can.
So keep these stress busters with you in the month of December, and enjoy a more joyful and peaceful holiday season!
Source by Lori Radun