The most wonderful time of the year so it’s said. The holidays are upon us but, depression, sadness, stress and anxiety are also in full swing. Between the usual day to day responsibilities and the seasonal activities that need to be done, sometimes you can feel like you don’t sleep or sit down between Thanksgiving and the day after New Year’s.
It’s so easy to get burned out at this time of the year. This time of the year should be fun and enjoyable while spending time with loved ones and seeing kids joy as they open their gifts. Yet, all too often, it’s not. Besides the pressure we put on ourselves to buy the perfect gift, go to every party, bake, cook, shop and look fantastic through it all. There are those that allow the stress and anxiety to suck the life and joy out of them so much that exhaustion and depression is all they feel. Yes, I am preaching to the choir here and mostly me the choir director…lol.
It’s key that you find ways to relax and take a breather so you don’t end up in a depressed state of mind instead of a Holly jolly soul.
Two letters: N-O. I admit that this is the HARDEST thing for me. Don’t be afraid to say NO. You will have Christmas programs at church or school that the kids are in that you must go to, You have presents you have to wrap or shop for. You have a tree you need to decorate. You do not, however, need to go to your neighbor’s third cousin’s aunt’s neighbor’s first grade teacher’s Christmas party. You don’t have to buy gifts for kids in the class next door to your kid’s classroom. Sometimes we are guilt tripped into doing so many things we don’t want to, and those things take up so much of our valuable time and energy. If you don’t want to do something or don’t have time to do something, say so. Even if it ticks someone off, it’s better that they be upset with you for not doing it at all rather than doing it halfway or very sloppily. I rather say no to the things that aren’t that important so I have the energy for the things that mean most to me.
Delegate- The great thing about the holidays is that a lot of your holiday chores can be delegated to others. I know what our saying…but, no one can do it like I do, well maybe thats just me. Give your spouse a honey do list, you might be surprised how good he wraps those gifts.
Perfection is not the point.-Unless you are Martha Stewart, no one expects your tree, baked goods, dinner, or wrapped presents to look like Martha Stewart’s …except you. So there’s a few wrinkles in the wrapping paper on the gifts, or your mashed potatoes are slightly lumpy – who cares? That wrapping paper will be torn to pieces in 30 seconds or less and lumpy mashed potatoes add a bit of comfort to an otherwise formal meal. Do things in love and thats all that your guests will feel.
Priorities – Be realistic about what can and can’t be done in each day. Create a list, yes a list each day and like you would for a monthly budget and stick to it. Schedule your duties in the time frame to get things accomplished for whatever event you are going to or having. If you look at everything as if in a pile you WILL be overwhelmed and create more stress for yourself. This is exactly what I have done the last few days and I had an anxiety attack. It’s NOT worth it, you will open the door to sickness and then you wont be able to do anything. This is my husband way to deal with my holiday craziness and it works.
Take time for yourself- I think that’s more important during the holiday season than ever, and exercise will help you feel better, too. Not just walking around the mall, that doesn’t count…lol. I always find I feel happiest, healthiest, and sleep best by keeping my normal exercise routine no matter how busy I am. Get enough sleep, drink more water and eat right , this is vital for performance and sanity. Spend some alone time, soak in the tub, pray and mediate on good things.
Lower your expectations.- Try not to place high expectations on how events will unfold. You will not always have a Norman Rockwell picture perfect event. Always expect the unexpected and remember that humans can react unpredictably and surprisingly. Also, life can throw us the odd curve ball, especially when we least want it, so just have a “what will be will be” attitude and hopefully, the holidays will be perfect. Avoiding high expectations means you won’t become stressed out or upset should things not turn out the way you wanted or you didn’t receive the gift you expected someone to give you. Make the most of the budget you have to create a wonderful memory for your family. If you have a small budget remember that there are others who don’t even have that.
Extend Love – There are so many people that do not have a family or money to give gifts to their kids. I like to adopt a family or a person and invite them to a holiday dinner or buy some gifts for them, in secret is always more fun. I know how much that means because one year I had someone do this for me and it still warms my heart many years later.
Only you can make these boundaries for your holiday events so get a cup of tea, sit down, create your list and have a Merry Christmas!
Jesus is the reason for the season!
Do you have a favorite way to help reduce stress over the holidays?