It’s that time of year again when the holidays are quickly approaching. Very soon, many of our homes will be filled with the aroma of Thanksgiving turkey complete with all the trimmings, our hearts filled with the joy and laughter of friends and family, and the holiday season will be well underway. Along with the holiday cheer, comes the holiday stress. Here are 8 stress reduction tips to consider helping your holiday festivities go off without a hitch:
1. Decide which activities make your holiday special.
2. Set limits. Create a budget and stick with it. Tell your friends and family that you are not over-cooking, over-spending, or over-worrying this year.
3. Plan ahead. If you are hosting festivities in your home, create a menu well ahead of time. Some families consider having a “potluck style gathering”. At a potluck, people are delegated to bring a dish which cuts down on the stress of one person doing all of the cooking and baking.
4. Allow yourself to be human. If you decide to do all of the cooking and baking, enlist the help of your children with other household chores like dusting or even cleaning their rooms. The extra help around the house will not only relieve stress for you, but will also teach children responsibility and the importance of working together as a team.
5. Take time for yourself. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can be over stimulating for some. Consider going for a walk, reading a book, or taking a long, hot bath. If you do nothing else, breathe slowly and deeply.
6. Keep a sense of humor. Remember to take time to laugh. It is often said that the average four-year old laughs 300 times a day, a 40-year old, only four. When we lighten up, we feel more positive, hopeful, and optimistic which will certainly bring cheer to the holiday season. So go ahead and raise your laugh quota!
7. Make time for reflection. It’s easy to get into a pattern of thinking of all the things that have gone wrong or are not how you expected them to be. This sort of thinking can lead to a negative downward spiral. Instead, try thinking and reflecting on the special moments that have brought you joy. Making time to reflect on joyful moments can help a person to be more thankful and in the present moment which can make the holidays more enjoyable.
8. Treasure these precious moments with your children. The years go by so quickly and before you know it they won’t be little ones anymore. Enjoy them!!!
Here’s wishing you all the best for a great holiday season. Live, love, and laugh!
Bring on the holidays!!!
Diona Shelton, MSW, LCSW
New Beginnings Counseling Services, LLC