4 Tips for Reducing Holiday Stress

With the calendar flipping through November, we have officially hit the “most wonderful time of the year.” Truth is, it isn’t always wonderful. While the holidays should be a time for family togetherness and personal reflection, it sometimes doesn’t turn out that way. An over-scheduled calendar, demanding relatives, and financial strain can make what should be a merry season not so merry. The good news is holiday stress doesn’t have to take over. Here are some intentional ways to approach the holiday season so it is, indeed, a happy time of meaning and magic for you and your kids.

Think About Years Past

With an unfiltered lens, think back to past holiday seasons and what went well and what went not so well. What traditions do you want to keep? What traditions is your family outgrowing? Make this year intentional.

Think About How You Want to Feel

Typically, we start the holiday season trying to see how much we can fit in, and that’s not ideal because you end up feeling cruddy at the end of it all. Put some thought into how you want to feel over the holidays. Do you want to feel peaceful? Grateful? Celebratory? Think about what pieces of past holidays will help produce those emotions. Don’t be afraid to look at what other people do, too. If you like a tradition another family has created, use it for your own. Decide what experiences will give you and those you love the feelings you want to have and be disciplined enough to say “no” to activities that will not produce the desired emotions.

Define Your Limits

Suppose you get three invitations to holiday parties that are all on the same Saturday night. You feel obligated to attend all of them, as you’ve done in years past. But this year, because you want to feel peaceful during the holidays, you politely decline two of the invitations. On the other hand, if you have chosen to feel celebratory, you may want to attend all three. It’s all about aligning how you want to feel with the choices you make.

Take a Timeout

Things may still get hectic, and typically what we do when we get busy is say we’ll take care of ourselves when things quiet down. The truth is, we’ll be so exhausted by then that we won’t be able to, so it is important to take care of yourself throughout the holidays. Usually, mom sets the barometer for the whole family, so if you’re not taking care of yourself, everyone may fall apart. To avoid this, try to take at least 30 minutes a day to take care of yourself. That could be waking up 30 minutes earlier to enjoy some peace and quiet or taking a walk. But whatever it is, make sure that every day has an element to it that is just about taking care of you. And what’s more meaningful and magical than that?

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