It seems like lately the holidays have become increasingly intense and stress-filled. There are so many expectations, demands, and pulls on our time, energy, money, and other resources. It is so easy to get wrapped up in all the demands of the holiday season and the internet doesn’t help. I have said it before, and the holidays are no exception, but sites like Facebook, instagram, and pintrest only help to make the stress worse. We are constantly seeing images that others post of perfectly decorated homes, amazing gifts, and perfect holiday meals. Combine that with all the other demands of the holidays and it can be completely overwhelming.
As I mentioned in my last post, I have decided it is time to take back the holidays. I want to cut out the stress and extra demands this year and just really enjoy this season with my husband and kids. For me that means not trying to strive for the perfect holiday, but the perfect for us holiday. I hope you can make that your goal this year as well. Here are some tips for cutting out stress and taking back the holidays this year:
-Reevaluate “obligations”: It seems like every year the list of holiday obligations gets longer and longer. More work parties, more family events, more activities with the kids; just more! But we need to take a step back and reevaluate these obligations. How many of them are musts? It seems like so often we allow others to put a lot of pressure and demands on our time and energy that isn’t necessary. This year take a look at which of these “obligations” you can cut out. Do you really need to go to 3 work parties? Are all of the kids events necessary? You get the idea, give up some of these false obligations to gain more time for what really matters.
-Create a budget (and stick to it): One major stressor during the holidays is money. Holidays add up fast, food, gifts, decorations, etc. It can end up costing a fortune! Plan ahead and budget it out. It may mean cutting some things out but sticking to a budget will help you feel better in the long run. If you feel like this is difficult start your holiday budget in January and set aside a little every month. That way next year maybe you won’t have to cut anything out.
-Make a plan and carve out family time: I have a friend who posted on facebook that her family already has every weekend in December booked! Honestly, we are getting there too, and it’s a little stressful, I mean if that’s true when will we have time to get anything done? Step back, take a deep breath, and make a plan. Mark out days for shopping, baking, etc. Most importantly mark of days and times specifically for family events and traditions. Even mark off time for quiet family time at home…we all need it this time of year!
-Make a plan for dealing with stressful family members: Let’s face it, there’s one (or many) in every family, that person that just makes things stressful. Create a plan now for how to deal with these stressful family members. Set up boundaries and stick to them. Maybe this means cutting down the time with family, maybe it means having dinner out instead of at your house. Whatever it means for your family know that it is good and healthy to set boundaries when it comes to family. Setting and sticking to these boundaries with help you to enjoy the holidays more.
-Take time for self-care: I talked about the importance of self-care last month and the holidays are no exceptions. Take time to drink a cup of cocoa in front of the fireplace, read a quiet book by the Christmas tree, lunch with a girlfriend, or an hour for a massage. Whatever type of self car is best for you just take time for it! You will enjoy the rest of the season more if you do.
I hope these tips help you to cut stress and take back the holidays. If you feel like you are still struggling during this difficult time of year give use a call. We would be happy to meet with you and help you figure out how to best take back your holiday season!