Wednesday, December 10, 2008

10 Ways to Destress During the Holiday Season

Thanksgiving - Christmas/Chanukah - New Years - three holiday that come fast & furious, one behind the other. At some times they are a wonderful time of family and fun and at others they seem like the Bermuda Triangle of holidays.

I had a call from a friend last night. She spent most of the time ranting about how insensitive her sister was on Thanksgiving and how she is dreading the remaining two holidays with her family. I heard other horror stories from a nameless person (see I'm keeping my promise) about how the family dinner that he attended went horribly wrong.

Sometimes all of the holiday stress brings out the worst rather than the best. So, how do we cope?

1. DELEGATE - It can be overwhelming for MOM or Grandma, who somehow ends up doing the decorating, cooking, shopping and playing mediator of the kids. Instead of cooking the entire holiday meal, why not make it pot luck? Can the kids help with the decorating? You'd be surprised at how many people are not just WILLING to help, but really WANT to.

2. Don't OVERSPEND - The one thing good about the state of the economy is that we're learning to scale back on spending.. Should you be paying the bill off for the next year for ONE DAY or EIGHT DAYS worth of STUFF? Set a budget & STICK WITH IT. Stay out of the stores!
Personally, I find I spend LESS when I shop online, but whatever works to keep your wallet closed - DO IT!

3. Figure out what's IMPORTANT - Every family has traditions (if not, it's time to start one). Sit down and make a list of the holiday plans, gifts, etc. that are important to you and your family. Cross off those that aren't. You're not a superwoman/ don't try to do EVERYTHING.

4. Spend time with FAMILY. I don't mean the toxic family members who create stress, but perhaps there's a cousin that you haven't talked to in a long time that you REALLY miss. Pick up the phone & spend some time with them.

5. VOLUNTEER your time. I know you've got a million things to get done. But by taking time to help someone else, you will really be helping yourself. Plus, you might meet some new people.

6. TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF - a little pampering is essential this time of year. Even a long bubble bath will help. I usually make sure to get a pedicure this time of year. I think it's a combination of just sitting and having someone else take care of ME for a while really helps me calm down.

7. DON'T OVERINDULGE - The holidays are prime time for too much eating and too much drinking. Maybe that's why the New Year's resolution list is too long.

8. LAUGH - Don't be so hard on yourself. If you screw up, don't beat yourself up over it. Have a good laugh and be over it. Laughter is a great de-stresser. Maybe it's time to see that movie (comedy) that you've been waiting for.

9. HIDE/REST/RELAX - Even if it's just a few minutes every day. Take a deep breath and do NOTHING.

10. FORGIVE YOURSELF - Beating yourself up for things you have no control over is just not helpful. If your family is impossible, it's not your fault. Be civil and go on with your life. It's NOT your fault. Burn the turkey, oh you're not the PERFECT cook. Not every moment is a Hallmark moment.


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