By Sophia Fromell
“To many people holidays are not voyages of discovery, but a ritual of reassurance.” – Philip Andrew Adams
Many people associate holidays with traveling, spending quality time with loved ones and taking a break from the obligations at work. After all, it is the happiest time of the year! However, the irony is that stress is often picking up during the holiday season and it can take its toll on the family relationships.
Getting ready for the holiday season is not only demanding because of the preparation you need to do on the build up to the big day. Buying gifts, decorating the house, cooking meals and making plans with friends and family can be financially as well as emotionally demanding.
Additionally, the holiday season can be a trigger to review the changes we had in our lives; a divorce, a new family member, children going or coming back from college. For some it might be the lack of change, the routine of the family gathering for the celebrations, the family arguments or just the thought of dealing with toxic relatives that can be intimidating and stressful and even trigger unhappy memories from the past.
Before you know it, you find yourself agonizing over an increasing number of demands and wishing for the festivities to be over. When this happens, it’s time to take a step back and breathe for a moment.
It is important to remember that the coming holidays are an opportunity to connect with family and friends and to enhance your psychological well being. Below are some helpful tips to ensure a stress-free holiday season:
- Budget wisely
Plan and set a budget for gift shopping. Remember that gifts are a token of love to those nearest and dearest to you. Giving gifts should not be a competition amongst family and friends nor a way to impress each other or re-confirm your financial status amongst the group. Those who love you and care about you should not need to be impressed by expensive gifts. So set a budget and stay within these guidelines. Shop earlier if you need to, to avoid the last-minute frenzy.
- Organize your tasks
Make a list of what you need to do during the day.Manage your time wisely by working and prioritizing the tasks that you have influence over. Do not spend your time and energy worrying about things you do not have any control over.Remember that the holiday season is an opportunity for the family to get together, so do involve your family into the preparations and do not overstretch yourself by trying to do everything alone.
- Feel free to say ‘No’
As you are watching your ‘to do’ list grow longer, you can feel your stress levels rising and the joy of the festive season slowly escaping you. Remember that it is ok to say ‘no’ to invitations that feel like are stretching your time and strength to the limit. Don’t commit to things you don’t want to do. Do not feel guilty about saying ‘no’ to people. Be polite and explain that you cannot do what you are being asked to do. Knowingyour limits will help manage your time better and enjoy the activities you choose to do instead of stressing about them.
- Have realistic expectations
There is no holiday season without a misstep! View such missteps as a way to create a new memory, something to look back and laugh about in holiday seasons to come. Remember, there is no such thing as a perfect family, a perfect holiday dinner. Do not be fooled by the movies or the TV commercials. There will always be a burnt turkey, a baby that cries on the dinner table and a relative that will say something that will upset you or cause a family argument. The key is to treat everything with s sense of humor.
- Remember what’s important
Every time you find yourself stressing abut the presents not being perfectly wrapped, the children getting their clothes dirty before the dinner or the food being less than perfect, just remember what it is that matters the most. Ask yourself “what is most important for me?” The essence of the festive season is to be together with the people that matter most in your life, not to try to impress them with a flawless dinner. Remember what is it you loved about the holidays when you were achild. Allow yourself to have fun, relive your happy childhood memoriesand create new memories with yourloved ones.
Sophia is a certified life coach who helps her clients navigate change in their lives, helping them overcome feelings of uneasiness/dissatisfaction and progress towards genuine contentment; as well as develop a more positive and goal oriented mindset to help them find happiness and realize their potential. After 15 years in Banking, Sophia has left the world of finance to establish Ithaca Life, to connect with people from all walks of life and share with them her knowledge, expertise and practical methods for creating a happy, fulfilling and well-rounded life.
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