Saturday, December 22, 2012

Surviving the Holidays

It's hard to believe that Thanksgiving is over and Christmas is upon us. The holidays seem to arrive sooner every year and for many people, instead of being a time of joy, they are a time of stress. Here are 5 tips to help you manage your holiday stress.

1) You don’t have to attend every party you’re invited to. Time and time again, people... feel obligated to accept every invitation that comes there way during the holidays, but this can leave us feeling ragged and run down. Instead of running around, trying to see everyone, and do everything pick 1 or 2 parties to attend. Graciously decline other invitations with a hand written note. The host/hostess will understand and probably secretly thank you for not attending (one less guest to entertain after all).

2) Don’t overextend yourself financially. If you can’t afford a particular gift then don’t buy it. Many people end up with huge credit card bills after the holidays because they want to give their children and loved ones the newest and greatest gadget on the market. Your loved ones want to spend time with you during the holidays. They don’t need the next greatest toy. The greatest gift you can give your child is to teach them that the holidays aren’t about toys and presents, but are about spending time with people you love.

3) It’s easy to feel torn about whose house to spend which holiday at. This part of the family wants to host this holiday, your parents want to see their grandchildren on Christmas morning, guilt, guilt, guilt. Don’t feel guilty. This is YOUR holiday, too, and you should spend it how you want. Some people have found that as their children get older it’s easier to stay home. Don’t feel obligated to run all over town trying to make everyone else happy. Talk to your spouse and decide what your family is doing this year for the holidays. If that means everyone comes to your house or one family gets Christmas Eve and the other Christmas Day then that’s okay. You have to do what’s best for you. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your extended family. It just means you are setting some holiday boundaries and that is okay!

4) Exercise. The holidays and gluttony seem to go hand in hand. Who isn’t looking forward to a Thanksgiving turkey or pumpkin pies? Everyone I know complains about packing on holiday pounds and eating all that rich food over the holidays does tend to make us feel sluggish and out of sorts. Exercising, even if it’s just a 20 minute walk per day, can go a long way to helping you feel better during the holidays. It’ll keep your stress level down, your energy level up, and you’ll sleep better at night.

5) Remember to take time for yourself. Whether it’s 5 minutes in the morning to meditate or a long shower at the end of the day, or booking an appointment for a massage, it’s important to take time to decompress and unwind. Your house isn’t going to fall apart if you take 30 minutes to read a novel or take a bath. If you need a time out then take a time out.

The holidays don’t have to be stressful. Thanksgiving and Christmas are going to come and go regardless of if you get your shopping done, serve an amazing turkey, or have a perfectly clean and decorated house. Instead of focusing on all the things you have to get done this year, why not focus on all the things you have to be grateful for already? Take a deep breath and just enjoy.

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