Enjoy the Holiday Season Without the Stress

aip_website-article-images_holidaysFact: As we enter the month of November, the holiday season is officially upon us.  And while the season can be a fun and joyous time offering a chance to reconnect with friends and family, it can also be very stressful.

Many people look forward to the holiday season and the start of a new year as it often provides an opportunity to spend quality time with family and take a few days off from work.  However, with the combined stress of shopping, attending social events, and entertaining guests, this time of the year can quickly become too much to handle.

A poll by the American Psychological Association shows that 8 out of 10 people anticipate increased stress over the holidays, and of those 8 people, 24% experience difficulties with family members.  Instead of letting the holiday season become something that you dread, learn to recognize your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown.  With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find joy and comfort during the holidays.  Here are 10 ways to minimize stress and anxiety so you can thoroughly enjoy the festivities of the holiday season.

1.Focus on the Positive

Don’t dwell on negative memories from previous holidays.  Instead, focus on the experiences that you enjoy.  Accepting family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations, will help you in focusing on the good in them.  It is okay to set aside your differences, and agree to disagree.

2. Maintain Your Routine   

Don’t let the holiday season become a free-for-all.  As much as possible, maintain your typical sleeping, eating and exercise schedules.  Your vitality can be weakened by changes in your routine, which can lead to feelings of anxiety or irritation.

3. Hold Realistic Expectations

Try not to put pressure on yourself to create the perfect holiday. If you become frustrated that the holidays aren’t going according to plan, remember that there is no such thing as a perfect family or perfect holiday.

4. Know your Spending Limit

Lack or tightness of money is one of the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season.  Before you go gift or food shopping, decide how much you can afford to spend, set a budget, and don’t spend more than you’ve planned.

5. Give Something Personal

You can show love and caring with any gift that is meaningful and personal, such as donating to a charity in someone’s name or giving homemade gifts.  Being thoughtful in your gift-giving shows.

6. Get Organized

Make lists to keep track of tasks to do and events to attend.  Set aside specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities.  Plan your menus and then make your shopping lists.  This will prevent those last-minute stressful food store runs.

7. Share the Tasks

Remember that you don’t have to do everything yourself.  Share your “to do” list with others.  Spend time with friends and family while you share tasks like decorating, wrapping gifts and preparing holiday meals.

8. Learn to say “No”

The holiday season is particularly stressful when you have too much on your plate.  This might be the case if you’re welcoming out-of-town guests and hosting family festivities.  It’s okay to say “no” to events that aren’t important to you.  This will give you more time to attend and enjoy events that you actually want to participate in.

9. Maintain “Me” Time

Pay attention to your own needs and feelings.  Making time for yourself by taking a break from group or family activities will help you to maintain your balance.  Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle your holiday “to-do’s” with a lot less stress.

10.Start Family Holiday Traditions

Here are a few ideas to make the holidays more fun:

Share gratitude.  Each year, organize a time when your family sits down to share what they love about the holidays, or about individual members of the family.

Photograph happy moments.  Take photos during good family times and revisit them to remember how great the holidays can actually be.

Plan the holidays together.  Work as a team to create a vision for the upcoming holidays; encourage each family member to participate in a fun way.  Clearly dividing up the work can help everyone feel like they’re contributing and can diminish conflict.

 

 

 

 

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