HAVE A HAPPY holiday

SEVEN WAYS TO COMBAT SEASONAL STRESS

BY MIMI GREENWOOD KNIGHT

The holidays are about tradition, family, and celebrating life. Unfortunately, they’re also about commercialism, time crunch, money concerns, competitiveness, unrealistic expectations, and stressinducing family gatherings. It doesn’t have to be that way, though. Start by reexamining your expectations.


1. THINGS DON’T HAVE TO BE PERFECT


Nobody’s perfect. Whether it’s finding an on-the-nose gift for each person on your Christmas list, coming up with the perfect conversation starters at the holiday office party, or decorating your house top to bottom and back again, give yourself a break. Instead, make the holidays about time with the ones you love. And forgive yourself for anything that isn’t Norman Rockwell perfect.


2. DON’T PLAN EVERYTHING


Sure, you’re making a list and checking it twice, but try not to over-plan your holidays. Instead, leave some a little room for spontaneity. The moments that happen organically are often the most memorable.


3. LEARN TO DELEGATE


Don’t try to be a one-person show. Ask friends or family members to share in the holiday cooking. If they make a dish you love, they’ll probably be thrilled if you request it. And there’s no shame in your game if you pay someone to do your holiday decorating or have some meals or some elements of meals catered.


4. JUST SAY “NO!”


Saying “no” to some things can help make your holidays more enjoyable and less stressful. You can’t attend every party and head up every committee. Overbooking and overspending are two huge holiday stressors. Decide ahead of time on a reasonable number of parties to attend and a reasonable amount to spend on gift-giving.


5. FIND A LITTLE ME TIME


It’s easy to feel pulled in a dozen different directions during the holidays. Practicing some mindful self-care can get you through the season with less stress. This includes getting enough rest, staying hydrated, exercising, and eating healthily. Taking care of yourself will make it easier to keep up with all those shopping trips, holiday parties, and traveling with a spring in your step.


6. PRACTICE GRATITUDE


The holidays are a time when our loved ones show us how much we mean to them. Be grateful, not just for the gifts you receive but also for the time people spend with you during a season that’s busy for them, as well. When you’re with someone, don’t check your phone. Tune in and be present and grateful for your time together.


7. SEIZE SOME FAMILY TIME


Carve out time to enjoy the holidays together. Have a meal. See a holiday movie. Drive the little ones around oohing and aahing at Christmas lights. And be sure to find time to spend with senior friends and family members for whom the holidays can be a lonely season. This is a time to enjoy getting out of your normal routine and reconnecting with family, friends, and other loved ones. Don’t allow stress to rob you of what can be a beautiful time of year.



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