Five Quick Tips to De-Stress the Holidays

Happy HolidaysFor many of us, Thanksgiving kicks off the busy and potentially stressful holiday season . . . that time of year when many people compare their lives to beautiful, perfect Rockwell and Better Homes and Garden images.

This time of year I hear a lot of stress-related concerns from my clients.  In large part, they center around not having enough time to “get it all done.”  This gives me the perfect opportunity to have the conversation about what “it all” is and if “it all” is bringing joy to the holiday season or just layering on undue stress.

I encourage my clients to check in with themselves, review their priorities, and figure out the best way to give themselves the most precious gift of all . . . time with their family and friends!  Here are some great places to start:

  1. Forget perfection.  Try not to hold yourself to the Rockwell and Better Homes and Gardens standards (don’t even get me started on Pinterest).  As much as I love outside images for inspiration, it is almost impossible to have our homes and meals live up to the standards presented by professional stylists and photographers.
  2. Edit your schedule.  Do you really need to accept every invitation that comes your way?  Probably not.  Some events may be non-negotiable, like the company holiday party.  When you receive an invitation, ask yourself if you are excited to go or just feel an obligation. If it just feels like an obligation, ask yourself what the worst thing that could happen if you don’t go.  Are you comfortable with that?  If so, a polite “no, but thank you for the invitation” may be the correct way to go.
  3. Whenever possible, stick to your routine.  During the holidays, some of us tend to eat too much, drink too much, not exercise, and certainly not get enough sleep.  Neglecting our own personal care causes us to get run down, cranky, and possibly sick.
  4. Abandon what’s not important. For many, the holidays are all about tradition.  Well, sometimes our traditions just don’t make sense for the way we currently live our lives.  Does taking the day to press cider and cut down a tree in the forest still bring you joy?  If so, go for it.  If not, let it go.  Spend that time doing something you truly enjoy.
  5. Ask for and accept some help.  We don’t need to do it all ourselves!  In general, people enjoy being a part of the process and feel a sense of contribution.  Instead of taking on the entire responsibility for huge, festive dinners, make them potluck.  Ask  family members to help wrap packages.  Delegate grocery shopping.  Just because we’ve done it all in the past, doesn’t mean we need to in the future.

The holidays are meant to be joyful and fun for everyone.   Starting with you.