Taming Holiday Stress

Trees with snow and red morning sky.

Taming holiday stress will help you other times of the year as well. If you tend to feel stressed around the holidays, this post is for you. For many the stress can begin to creep in just after Halloween and builds through the remainder of the year.

What causes this sudden shift into feeling more on edge and maybe even a little queasy? For some onslaught of holiday tunes played on an endless loop amp up the stress. For others there is an uneasy feeling that perhaps they won’t achieve the goals they set earlier in the year.

Floating Back

Whatever the source of your stress it’s time to take stock. Take a few minutes to think about the holidays. When does your stress start to build and where does it come from? Looking at this now helps you to tame it later.

Close your eyes and float back through the years to various holiday experiences. What was your best Holiday? What was the worst? Open your eyes and jot these down.

Next, look at how closely your holiday last year resembled the best of your holiday memories. Did it match up or fall short? Also ask does the worst memory tend to show up and distract you? Taming holiday stress only comes if you look at how you may be acting in ways that increase stress.

The Land of Expectations

Ask yourself what you expect from the holidays.

  • Do you expect others to behave in a certain way?
  • Do you expect yourself to provide a certain type of experience for those around you?
  • Are you holiday central finding it hard set limits?
  • Do you expect to get better deals than you do an end up broke?

Next consider

  • What you most look forward to this time of year.
  • What you dread.
  • How much of the holidays you miss by being caught up in your own expectations.

Once you define what stresses you about the holidays you can start to build an action plan to address that stress and start to reduce it.

Plan for Holiday Success

Talk to your loved ones about your expectations. If you are expecting things to be a certain way it’s likely that others in your life do as well. Talk openly about what each expects in the weeks ahead.

Listen to what others have in mind and find a way to negotiate to get to a middle ground. The holidays can be a win/win if we are willing to compromise so that everyone gets at least a part of what they want.

Share the work of the holiday experience. While we can idealize the holidays there is work involved. Preparing our home for visitors, shopping not only for gifts but for the extra groceries etc. we may need when hosting family and friends.

Remember to set limits for yourself and to respect the limits of others during the season. Set a budget and stick to it. Take time to step back and really enjoy the events of the season. Take time to experience all those things you’ve looked forward to.

Holidays are about celebration not competition. You don’t need to outspend or out surprise or over deliver in any way. Just be yourself. Be present. Be part of the celebration and enjoy.

Decreasing stress is often a case of looking at where the stress comes from and then laying a plan for making a change. If you are experiencing stress beyond what this post covers take a few moments to check out some of the earlier posts on stress management here and here.

If you enjoy these posts please take a minute to share with a friend.

Thank you for dropping by.

Have a great day~ Lynda

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