Between holiday travels and last minute shopping, it can be easy for your stress levels to reach an all-time high as you swing into the holiday season. Here are some tips on how you can slow down and enjoy the holidays.
- Set realistic expectations. Approval-seeking is a fundamental part of human nature. In the midst of wrapping presents and preparing to entertain others, the need for approval can escalate causing your expectations to become unrealistic.
To set realistic expectations for yourself, simplify as much as possible and make a conscious effort to not go overboard with all things related to the holidays. That means saying “no” sometimes.
- Distinguish between perfectionism versus good enough. Perfectionism during the holidays can cause severe stress for people. The table setting does not have to be perfect and your gift wrapping does not have to be a work of art. From entertaining to picking out a Christmas tree, ask yourself, “Is this good enough?” This will help reduce your stress level as you let go of your perfectionism.
- Reduce time pressure and financial stress. Pull out your monthly calendar and write out your obligations. To plan ahead and stay organized, identify what days you will be shopping, when you have holiday parties and when you will be preparing your holiday feasts. This will help you prioritize your holiday activities to ensure that all of your commitments are not falling on one weekend or day.
It can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of picking out the perfect gifts, food and decorations. Take time to plan your budget for the holiday season. As you begin your holiday shopping, jot down what you are spending and make sure that it aligns with your budget and finances. If you fail to plan ahead with your budget, your stress level may increase once you see your financial statements after the holidays.
- Forget the “shoulds” and the “musts.” You likely have holiday traditions that you enjoy with your family, but as your children grow up and have families of their own, family dynamics and roles can shift. Allow yourself to be tolerant and flexible, and do not try to impose your fantasy of what the holidays should be like. It is important to realize that new traditions may begin as in-laws are introduced into the mix and new family members are born. Consider how you will need to adjust and make a commitment to be willing to open up the holidays to new traditions.
- Do not take things personally. Whether you expect to eat a certain meal or have family travel to your house, remember that people will do as they please and what they feel they must. Let actions from your loved ones be voluntary and not out of obligation. Trying to control your family’s actions can be a recipe for disaster. Remember, you cannot control events and others around you.
- Give yourself time to “exhale.” People get caught up in the hectic pace and forget to take care of themselves. The holidays are a time when your self-care should increase instead of decrease. Allow yourself to retreat, be quiet and have down time. Between the crowds in the mall and constant holiday festivities, taking time to be alone can be rejuvenating and keep you on the right track toward a pleasant holiday.
- ASK FOR HELP. If you are feeling overwhelmed, do not be afraid to ask for help. Be assertive and ask others to lend a helping hand for your to-dos such as decorating, cooking or wrapping.
Remember, the only person that can ruin your holiday and make it stressful is you.
Health and happiness,
Kriss Brooks is a nationally known fitness consultant, personal trainer, and motivational speaker.