Oops! I actually meant to post this on my other blog, but I'll leave it up since I guess it can apply to both audiences!
The holidays are supposed to be a joyful time full of cheer and good company; but for many, it becomes a source of stress or even depression. Stress over money, too much to do, too little time, family squabbles, lost loved ones...stress.
What I love about Christmas is that it is one of 3 days the hubby and I have off together all year. Sure we spend it hopping from one house to another delivering gifts like Santa and eating an amount comparable to what normal people eat in 2-3 days, but we get to spend time together and I try to drink in every minute.
Now granted, I tend to be a pretty logical, see-the-bigger-picture type of person so what works for me may not work for everyone, I wanted to share what I do to keep stress to a minimum.
1) Stay out of the drama. Families will bicker, shoppers are rude, relatives will complain, and someone will get left out. That's how it is and how it will always be. Don't push back, don't feed the fire, just let it go and spend more time with those who make good company.
2) Don't try to please everyone. As Scrooge-ish as it may sound, I've learned is that you can't please everyone. Sometimes the right thing to do is to make it about you. Now that we have N, I no longer feel guilty making a decision based on what is best for me rather than what everyone wants or what we would normally do.
3) Budget. And stick to it. The bottom line is you shouldn't give more than you can afford. Where is the joy in giving if it stresses you out? What friend or relative would enjoy getting a gift that means you have to go into debt to purchase it? Homemade gifts are usually most appreciated and happen to be budget friendly, too.
Not crafty? Give a coupon for a free sitter, lunch date, or shopping day. Close friends will appreciate spending time with you more than a material gift anyway. If you're big on gift giving and have a lot of people to buy for, put a set amount away every month beginning in January so come December it doesn't feel like such a financial burden.
4) Say thanks. Take time to reflect on your blessings. Remind those around you that you love and appreciate them. Don't let the past get you down.
5) Say no. You don't have to attend every party/meal/gathering you're invited to. This time of year is chaotic for everyone, and your friends will understand if you can't make it. Make it up to the host by inviting them to do something once life returns to normal. Why do we have to pack everything into 2 days of the year? If it's a close friend, plan to exchange gifts at your after-Christmas gathering.
6) Breathe. Just breathe.
Do you find yourself stressed during the holidays? What do you do to minimize the emotional impact of the hustle and bustle?