No matter what holiday you celebrate or if you don’t celebrate any holidays, the period from the end of November through the New Year can cause stress, sadness, overwhelm and a myriad of other emotions. In this article I want to talk about 4 stress management tips to help you sail through the holidays with grace and ease. Trying to manage the holidays on top of regular day-to-day activities, work, kids’ schedules and keeping up with the housework can feel overwhelming. I feel my shoulders tightening just thinking about it!
Here are 4 stress management tips to help you sail through the holidays with grace and ease! These tips are not necessarily easy but they are important, so I ask that you do what you can and free yourself from the stress and worry of the holiday season so that you can enjoy time with friends and family, because that’s what the holidays should be about!
Stress Management Tips
1. Ask for what you need.
Don’t feel like you have to be the one to do EVERYTHING yourself. Ask for help, assign tasks and duties, have a potluck, let others wash your fancy China. Most of our stress comes from thinking we are in charge. People love to help, kids love to help but often don’t know what to do, especially if you are a take-charge lady! Make a list of everything that needs to be done, including shopping, cooking, preparation, clean-up, etc. What are you willing to allow someone else to do? Keep the parts you love the best and share the rest.
2. Set clear boundaries.
Have a parent, crazy aunt or in-law who drives you insane and it just seems to get worse at the holidays? Set clear boundaries. You are an adult, you need to do what works best for you and your family and not be swayed, insulted or upset by someone else trying to tell you what to do. An example might be: you are traveling to see your family in Florida for Thanksgiving. You normally stay with your parents, but their house is small and your mother complains constantly about the noise and clutter created by your lively children who are 3 and 6. You decide to stay in a hotel, knowing this will upset your mom but will keep your husband and your kids happy. Your mom will get over it! Stand up for what you need.
3. Release your inner perfectionist.
I am a closet Martha Stewart, I love to entertain, decorate, celebrate with friends and family. I used to make myself crazy making sure the house was perfect, the food was perfect and I looked fantastic. Then I had kids. My house is often cluttered, chaotic, and full of dust bunnies. That doesn’t mean I can’t make a beautiful dinner and enjoy time with friends and family. Truth is, no one notices the dust bunnies behind the furniture except for me. No one comes to my house wearing white gloves! I focus on the part I love, the cooking and decorations. I clean the house but it’s not spotless. I do lots of preparation ahead of time so that I can relax and enjoy the company when they arrive. What do you want most? Focus on that and let the rest go. If the clean house is your biggest priority, order dinner in! There is no rule that says we have to do it all.
4. Finally, make time to remember the wonder of the holidays!
Spend a little time journaling or talking to your family about what you love best about the holidays and some of your favorite childhood memories. I remember being at my Grandmother’s house and standing in a huge circle around the dining room while my uncle said grace before Thanksgiving dinner. I remember Christmas eve sing-alongs and beautiful meals at my Dad’s house. I remember the wonder of Christmas morning and the joy of decorating the tree, making cookies with my mom and so much more! Focus on what you love best and let go of some of the rest.
I am challenging you to make the holidays fun again!
Share a favorite, fun holiday memory in the comments below.