Here are some easy-to-implement lifesaving tips from Naomi Gauthier Berry MC, LPC on how to get back on track and enjoy the holidays.
Berry says, “Grumpy people, family dynamics, crowded stores, too much to do, and an over-stretched pocketbook may create a recipe for stress. You may be feeling guilty for not being joyous enough about the season—or maybe you’re overwhelmed and want it to be January already. Don’t resign yourself to the stress. Your days are likely to be busier than normal but if you can follow these 5 essential stress busters, you will have a more merry and meaningful holiday season.”
1. Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin
Do you think that the perfect holiday is the one where you make everybody else happy? Perfect doesn’t exist, but you can prioritize your involvement and make your holiday better than ever. Make a priority list of your holiday must-haves and let go of the less important tasks. To paraphrase the holiday song “Let it Snow”: “Let it go, let it go, let it go!”
For example, some gift purchases are non-negotiable, as is your attendance at certain events. But you could make your life easier by sending Holiday cards to relatives instead of a detailed letter or skipping the neighborhood cookie exchange. Only you can decide what you want to cut from your to-do list, but you get the idea. You will likely discover that you can reduce the number of things that you think you have to do and you probably won’t even miss them.
2. Delegate, Delegate, Delegate
There’s a tendency during the holidays to think that you have to do everything. You don’t have to shoulder this responsibility by yourself, simply delegate, delegate, delegate. When you entrust other people that you know are competent to help you with holiday tasks, it will likely take away some of your stress. Maybe your significant other can do some of the gift shopping, or you could invite family over to do the baking or meal preparation that you usually take on.
3. Stick to a Budget
Money is one of the most stressful aspects of the holidays for most people. The easiest way to avoid this stress is to plan ahead. If you haven’t planned ahead by saving money for the holidays, you might find yourself financially stressed when the credit cards come due. Stick to your budget! You’ll be grateful a month from now when you’re not dealing with a debt hangover.
4. Find Time for Yourself
Treat yourself to fun and relaxation. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in trying to create the perfect holiday experience for our loved ones that we’re miserable in the process. It doesn’t have to be that way! Set aside some time for yourself that is focused on fun and relaxation. Allow yourself to recharge and stay present. A series of self-focused interludes can work wonders for your state of mind and is a great stress buster! Mindful of our goal of sticking to a budget, taking time for yourself does not have to be expensive. It may be as simple as a warm bath, a pleasant walk, or watching your favorite show. Make self-care a priority and do some things for yourself that bring you joy.
5. Make Sure You Get Enough Vitamin Z
In other words, make sure you get enough sleep! There’s no real way to create more hours in the day, but do not rob yourself of sleep or you will pay the price in stress and be less productive. Getting enough sleep will also boost your immune system, which is so important during the cold and flu season. As difficult as it may seem at times, get some rest!
As Berry says, “The holidays do not have to be ho-ho horrible.”
She reminds us that taking on holiday stress is also something you need not do alone. If, in spite of your efforts, you find yourself struggling to have a less stressful holiday, reaching out to a counselor can work wonders as well.
Remember: Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN.
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