Seven Ways to Have a 'Stress-Less' Holiday Season
By Ellen Samiec | November 30, 1999
For the majority of people the holidays can be the most stressful time of the year. It is all too easy to get caught up in a flurry of activities, crowded shopping malls and overindulging in celebrations stressing both mind and body.
The following tips can help to reduce stress and help make the holiday season a pleasant and memorable time.
- Decide what's important. We often want to do all it or feel we have to. We can end up feeling tired, stress and even ill. Think about what you really 'have' to do, and really 'want' to do. Then think about what you realistically have adequate time and energy to do and set your priorities.
- Manage your time--don't let it run you. Once you decide what your priorities for holiday events and activities. In order of priority, give yourself a 'reasonable' time frame for each thing. Plan ahead rather than waiting until the last minute.
- Learn to say no, with a smile and firm conviction. Do not over-commit. You only have so many days and hours to squeeze in activities. Don't play 'superman/woman'. Holidays are to be enjoyed. '"Less is often more' and will also often be of higher quality.
- Pace yourself. For some people food and or alcohol are only temporary stress reducers that can lead to 'the morning after the night before'. Laughter and music are great stress reducers.
- Accept that you will never be all things to all people. Enjoy the spirit of the holidays. Be thankful and grateful to be able to do what you can do with the people you care about and love, and let it go at that.
- Focus on quality rather than quantity. Be realistic about how much time you can enjoyably spend with people. Rather than marathon celebrations consider shortening the time to what is manageable and enjoyable. In many cases 3 or 4 hours is enough and better than the whole day. Plan to take breaks if it is a longer event. Go for a walk, take a nap, make time for just you.
- Plan your recovery time. 'Happy' times are every bit as stressful as sad or unpleasant events. Holiday events can be very draining. Plan to take some quality time after a major holiday to catch up on sleep, clean up your house, and travel home in a relaxed time frame.