By Lizzie Meyers
Finding the perfect gifts for everyone on your list, arranging travel plans, and all the while, keeping up with your work at the office – whew, this time of year can be exhausting. Expectations and planning during the holiday season tend to cause people to neglect their own happiness. Often, we strive for what is actually an unrealistic idea of how we picture the holidays should be.
Rarely will you find a gift to please everyone without spending a fortune. Hardly ever will a holiday pass without a disagreement between family members or friends. You will likely have to neglect some plans in order to accommodate for others. The reality of the holidays, and everything else in life for that matter, is that they won’t turn out “perfectly” and that’s entirely okay! The sooner we accept this fact, the sooner we can let go, relax and enjoy the festivities.
You’re not alone if you’re stressing out. It’s a natural inclination to experience pressure and anxiety at this time, and thinking clearly and realistically can be much more difficult than expected. Try these simple tricks to reduce holiday stress:
Put things in perspective:
“Frame every so-called disaster with these words, ‘In five years, will this matter?” (45 of Life’s Lessons by Regina Brett.)
This nugget of wisdom from an Ohio newspaper columnist can work wonders in stressful situations such as the ones we experience during the holidays. Of course, the first step in this process is to identify what is making you feel stressed. A family argument, conflicting plans, and other possible contributors to holiday anxiety are much more manageable when we step back and look at the grand scheme of things. In five years, you’ll remember the happy moments with family and friends and most of the stress-inducing issues will be long forgotten.
Take a moment for yourself each day:
While it is the season of giving and helping others, it is just as important to keep your own happiness in check. If you tend to spend the holidays pleasing others, make sure that you allow yourself 15 minutes a day of “me time.” Go for a walk, get a massage, or watch some mindless TV. This time to yourself should distract you from overwhelming obligations, allowing you to clear your mind and recharge. Bonus – spend those minutes engaged in a healthy activity and you’ll feel extra refreshed.
Many people use the practice of meditation as the ultimate stress-reliever. The goal of this practice is to clear the clutter in our mind produced by day-to-day stressors. Through the use of meditation, eliminating holiday stress can become much more accessible.
New to meditation? Here are “20 Practical tips for Quieting the Mind.”
Take some tips from the gingerbread man pictured above. He knows what’s up. Remember, the key to steering stress away from your holiday experience is to stay in the moment and relax.