The holiday season is upon us and it’s typically a time for lots of festivities. When I think about the holidays, I think of family, friends, and good food. It’s always a good time, right? Oh, not exactly? You mean just thinking about the holidays makes you feel a bit stressed?
This year, get prepared to beat holiday stress so you can enJOY the holidays! You’re in luck because I have invited an expert who has been helping busy women for years to share her tips to help you slow down and enjoy the holidays.
First, let’s take a look at expectations of the holidays and how things change along the years. What happened that so many of us perceive the holidays as stressful rather than enjoyable?
Remember celebrating holidays when you were a child? Everyone comes from different backgrounds, but I suspect that overall you have fond memories.
My childhood memories of holidays include my mom making a yummy dinner with all the fixings. My grandparents came over and brought grandma’s unforgettably-delicious sticky buns. Other relatives joined us after dinner, and although I don’t remember many specifics, I remember it was always a good time and I have lots of good memories.
As my husband and I had a family of our own and began to host holidays, get-togethers became a little more stressful. Turns out that all those big dinners my mom whipped up took some work! And Santa’s job isn’t one big jolly event.
Creating good holiday memories for our children is important. I wanted our children to have good memories just like I did. I also wanted our guests to enjoy the time together.
So I planned and prepared as much as possible, but there are so many things to remember: the sweet potatoes, the cranberry sauce, drinks, appetizers, dessert, gifts… and those darn piles of stuff that I wanted cleaned up before guests arrived. It is easy to get overwhelmed.
Changes & Challenges
Holidays changed again when our kids marched off to college, got jobs, our daughter married, we coordinate with multiple families… you get the point. Flexibility in our schedule became important.
Throughout the years there are other life events that can affect how you perceive the holidays. For example, I won’t celebrate with neither my dad nor my father-in-law who both passed away this year. As much as we enjoy the people we are with, we naturally think about those who are not with us.
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Get Prepared: Tips to Beat Holiday Stress
My friend Gaye, who writes at CalmHealthySexy, has been encouraging women to reduce holiday stress for years.
This year, she’s written an ebook – Peace. Love. Joy.75 Simple Ways to Take Care of Your Health, Happiness and Marriage this Holiday Season.
I’ve asked her to share a few of her tips with us, so that we can begin right now to create the kind of holidays we really want this year:
Hi JOYful friends – I’m so happy that Ellen asked me to share some ideas for creating a low-stress, high-joy holiday season with you. Since it’s still early in the season (and chaos hasn’t set in yet!), I want to encourage you to do three proactive things very soon – this week or next.
These three things will help you set the stage for enjoying more calm and less stress during the six weeks from Thanksgiving Day (in the U.S.) through New Year’s Day.
1. Figure out what you (and your spouse, if you’re married) really want this year.
What does an ideal Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas look and feel like to you? What does it look and feel like to your spouse? Figure this out for yourself first, then talk about it openly and honestly with your spouse. Devote some time to this, and really take the time to listen and understand.
And don’t be surprised if your ideas are very different! You may value beautiful decorations and holiday parties, and your spouse may value family time and outdoor activities. Or you may want to do lots of activities together, and he may want to spend time relaxing and unwinding.
So bring all of your hopes and expectations out into the open and encourage him to do the same.
2. Establish your priorities.
Now that you know what’s important to both of you, establish priorities for your family. Make a list of two or three things that are most important to each of you. If you have children living at home, ask what are the one or two things that they want most to do.
Maybe your highest priority is to start the season with a clean, uncluttered house and to maintain a reasonable level of cleanliness and order throughout November and December. And maybe for your spouse it’s watching Christmas movies as a family and buying gifts that promote family activities.
Let each other know, “This is what’s most important to me over the next few weeks.” Then agree to honor each other’s priorities and make them happen.
And in doing this, recognize that both of you will have to give up something (or maybe several somethings). You’ll have to compromise. Because you can’t do everything that each of you (and your children) would like to do without ending up driving yourself crazy.
3. Let go of things that don’t fit your priorities.
This is where things start to get hard! In order to create the kind of holiday season you really want, you have to let some things go. And because nobody likes to say “no,” this can become very difficult.
But, the reality is that you can’t attend every event, accept every invitation, make every gift, address every card, and decorate every inch of the house – not if you want to relax and enjoy the things you’ve decided are most important.
Obviously, some activities are required. You may be obligated to attend your boss’s holiday drop-in or your grandmother’s cookie swap.
But many activities aren’t required. They’re not even important. So you may need to say no to your neighbor’s dessert buffet, your aunt’s Christmas cantata, your uncle’s all-day football extravaganza, or your sister-in-law’s out-of-town shopping trip.
Because you can’t do everything, and this year you want to do the things that will make the season fun, relaxing and memorable for you, your spouse, and your family.
I hope these ideas will help you get started on the road to fun and relaxing holidays. And if you’re looking for more tips for creating healthy, happy, and joyful holidays this year, I’d love for you to get a copy of Peace. Love. Joy.75 Simple Ways to Take Care of Your Health, Happiness and Marriage this Holiday Season. (affl) As one of Ellen’s readers, you can use the code FRIEND25 at checkout to save 25% at checkout.
You Got This!
Using Gaye’s tips to beat holiday stress, this is the year for you to now be prepared to stop holiday stress before it starts so you can enjoy the holidays. Focus on how you can make your holidays low-stress, fun, and drama-free. Above all, I hope you enJOY every moment with family and friends. Beat holiday stress….you got this!
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