Handling Holiday Stress is a full time job for some of us! It seems to build more each year, starting earlier and staying around longer. Stress is not healthy for anyone, so reducing stress is a must during the Holidays. Now don’t think that you have to give up everything and take a vacation during the month of December to avoid all that stress. No, but you do have to re-think the things you say “Yes”to as well as the amount of cooking, decorating and shopping you are doing. Our goal is to enjoy the holidays, not endure them!
Saying “No” can be a good thing! It is hard to say “No” at times, especially when you like to please people and you are good at the task you are asked to fulfill. But often we take on additional tasks that others can do as well or even better, leaving us with less stress and more time to really enjoy the event. So look carefully at your schedule and don’t be afraid to say “No” to some of those many requests for help you get each year.
Delegate! Alright, you don’t want to say “No” to some things, but you don’t really have the time to fully accomplish that task either without going sleepless for several night. Rather than show up sleep-deprived, delegate the task to another member of your family or your office staff. Look around and see who has been waiting in the wings to learn a new skill and show what they are made of! You will be pleasantly surprised at the talent that is around you waiting to grow and learn new skills. From your spouse to your children to your mother-in-law, there are many hands available to help if you will only ask. Teaching someone else is fun, rewarding and less stressful than always doing it yourself.
Watch your spending! Again, saying “no” to a present is often hard. Reality is cold and not always filled with boxes of presents for everyone in your life. Avoid buying gifts because you feel obligated. Have a frank discussion with friends and close family about gift giving to limit the amount spent or even eliminate gift giving all together. Some larger family/friend groups often draw names so they are buying for only one in a large extended family/friend group. Others do a “Dirty Santa” gift swap where each person purchases one gift of a certain dollar amount, not gender specific, for a gift swap game. It is a fun time, with lots of stealing of gifts as the game progresses, with everyone having fun and getting a nice gift.
Gifts that Keep on Giving! Most of us have more “stuff” than we need or want. Why not purchase gifts for the little ones, something small and fun, while making donations to your favorite charity in the names of those on your gift giving list. Supporting the local Women’s Shelter, Orphanage, Children’s Hospital or a Scholarship fund for a deserving graduating High School Senior are just some of the many options. Writing a personal note of Thanksgiving for someone in your life and letting them know about the donation you made in their honor is a special way to give gifts that keep on giving.
Keep focused on the reason for the season. Don’t get so caught up in the must-dos and ought-to-dos that you loose sight of the reason you are getting together with family and friends. Enjoy the time with them and forget the fact that the Christmas tree is not totally full of decorations or that the ham was cooked by the local deli and not you!
Over the years, the memories created during these celebrations are more valuable than any store bought gift. Time is a gift you can give everyone on your list if you plan well and forget the “shoulds and oughts” of life. Enjoy where you are and who you are with at each event, remain in the present and forget about presents! And if you need a little help winding down after the parties, take a Shaklee Stress Relief Complex like I do and you will release the stress naturally without negative side effects. Have a Happy & Healthy Holiday Season!