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Most everyone admits to feeling some amount of holiday stress. It may be bickering relatives, shopping in crowded areas, or simply anticipation that brings on holiday stress. Numerous tips and guides exist to help reduce holiday stress, but some fail to touch on practical ways in which one might reduce tension during holidays.
Tips include being grateful for one’s blessings, focusing on the spiritual aspect of the holiday, and limiting expectations of having the “perfect holiday.” Similarly, if you put your focus on others by volunteering, you may find it difficult to dwell on your own stress. It may also be helpful to plan some personal time for relaxation, focus on controlling your behavior in regard to trying family members, and avoid overindulging in food and drink. Another suggestion is to make low cost crafts as Christmas gifts as a way to reduce holiday stress.
While these can all be good tips to follow, they may not all work equally. For example, the non-artist or the problem baker may feel more stressed by having to produce crafts or cookies. Controlling you responses to difficult family members is doable but does not always protect you from being hurt by abusive family members.
Reduction of holiday stress could be more practical in nature. For example, shopping is not always the delightful pleasure people hope for. In fact, with thronging crowds, shopping can be a headache and quite un-joyful. If possible, limit shopping to off-peak hours. Plan to shop well in advance of the holiday, and shop during extended hours.
Alternately, just about everything that can be purchased in a store can now be purchased on the internet. Online shopping can significantly reduce holiday shopping. Not only that, but with a handy calculator, you can help yourself to stay on budget by performing almost instant price comparisons.
Spending time with relatives during the holidays is a judgment call, especially if relatives are too challenging, or if a long history of abuse evokes painful memories. It may be better to simply make plans to spend holidays elsewhere. Many people spend time with friends or with only certain members of their families during holidays as a way to reduce delving into stressful memories.
This may be challenging because spending time with family is often the focus of holiday gatherings. However, close friends are often referred to as the family one gets to choose. Familial feelings of love can exist in close friendships and may produce much less holiday stress than family gatherings.
Most people ignore their plans for “me time” unless they are actually scheduled. It can help to schedule something special like a massage or a special trip, and perhaps pay for it in advance. You are always more likely to follow through with times set aside for relaxation if it is scheduled in advance.
Some holiday stress occurs when normally well behaved children begin to act up around the holidays. This is natural, especially if you recall the excitement you felt as a child during special holidays and events. A little relaxation in discipline is helpful, but try to continue to adhere to routines.
It is a good idea to use a part of each day to take kids for a walk or some outdoor play when weather permits. Half the battle is de-energizing the kids, and walking can help fight this battle, as well as arm you against stress. Also investigate some meditative techniques that can help you quickly restore balance. Breathing exercises, yoga, or prayer can be done alone or taught to children, and may considerably help one reduce holiday stress when tense situations occur.
Major holiday stress can be an indication of deeper emotional stress. Uncontrollable feelings of depression or anxiety may indicate that help from a good therapist or psychiatrist is needed. A holiday gift to one’s self might be seeking help and learning overall how to cope with excessive emotional reaction or with mental conditions caused by chemical imbalances.
For me, I get depressed if I have to spend the holidays alone. If I can't make it out to spend a holiday with family, then I plan a get together with friends.
When I am at my parents house for the holidays, a cause of anxiety is if I have to see a family member that I don't get along with or don't speak to. I actually fight a lot with my brother and we have never been on good terms, so it's always tough to be around him on the holidays. I can't prevent it because my parents have all the right to be with their son.
At the same time, I'm not there to fight with my brother. I think the best thing to do for a stress-free holiday is to call truce with people you are mad at. It may not be always possible, but if it is, it will make the holidays much more enjoyable. I'm pretty emotional, so when my grandmother calls me and my brother and tells us that holidays is the time to forgive, I forgive.
I don't think about what's going to happen afterward. For the happiness and peace of the family and myself, it's best to let bygones be bygones, at least for the holidays.
Holidays are a time to see family and eat good food but it's also time off from work for me. If I spend the holidays all stressed out, I'm miserable when it's over and I'm back in the office tired and upset.
Last year, I decided that it's going to be different. I'm a hard working woman who juggles her work with family life and raises kids. I deserve a nice, happy holiday time.
I usually go over my budget buying gifts, so I decided no more credit card charges. I spent more money on gifts for immediate family members but opted for cheaper but still very nice gifts for distant relatives and friends.
I usually cook dinner at my house and invite people over. Last year, I cooked several dishes and asked the guests to bring something each. I also invited less people so that it would be a more cozy and calm holiday celebration. I did not extend bed time for the kids, so they were asleep shortly after dinner. I also gave my husband some chores around the house.
Last year was a wonderful stress-free holiday because I did these thigns. I don't know why I was trying to do everything myself and tiring myself out so much the previous years. I think as women, we tend to do this a lot. But you know what, we come first. If we don't value ourselves and our needs, no one else will either. So my recommendation is to put yourself first, share responsibilities and enjoy!