Think you cannot have stress free holidays? Think again. With a little thought and preparation, you can avoid falling into the trap of being a Christmas super hero.
If you look forward to the holidays with dread, you are not alone. We have been conditioned to believe that Christmas Day is the most magical, the most fun, and the happiest day of the year.
Yet many of us fear the inevitable family conflicts, the disappointments or the loneliness that we have experienced in the past.
However, the good news is that managing holiday stress is not rocket science, and each of us, with a little planning, can have a nice Christmas holiday!
Managing Holiday Stress
If Christmas is the best time of the year, why do so many of us end up stressed, depressed or even finding ourselves in tears?
There are a few good reasons for this. And we actually do it to ourselves. Yes, we actually do set ourselves up for holiday stress!
We fail to prepare, we over-commit, and we overextend ourselves. We set our expectations too high, and we expect too much of ourselves and others.
Here’s how that all works:
Failing to say “no”, we say “yes” to more than we can comfortably handle. We agree to help out at our children’s school parties and programs. We volunteer to help decorate the church. We commit to hosting a cookie baking party. And the list goes on…
In fact, we commit to more activities than we have time or energy to complete.
If you over-commit, you may end up feeling that you are a failure. You become overwhelmed and don’t do a good job of getting things done. It appears that others can get everything done, but you can’t. This is frustrating, and that leads to anger—with yourself.
When you turn anger and frustration over the holidays, inward on yourself—it becomes Christmas depression.
Instead of keeping things simple, most of us expect Christmas to be the most spectacular time of the year. Magazines show you how beautiful your home can be. And Martha Stewart makes you feel that you absolutely must put forth the effort for Christmas decorating perfection.
And, of course, having the most fashionable and tastefully decorated home in your neighborhood will be a source of pride for you.
But is that really true? Is the Christmas holiday just a time to show off your decorating skills and your taste for decor?
If people were honest, most people would admit that, even though they have a beautiful home at Christmas, the effort doesn’t bring the satisfaction or rewards that they expected. It’s a lot of work, for just a few weeks, and then we have to take it all down and put it away for next year.
Setting your standards high for holiday decorations is another stressor for you. Keeping your holiday decorations simple can help you avoid holiday stress.
Food and Baking
Tradition has us cooking all sorts of delicacies and baking dozens of cookies. Have you heard women comparing how many kinds of cookies they baked and what kinds they baked this year?
Of course, Christmas cookies are often fancier and take more time than other cookies. And, when all is said and done, most families find that they have more Christmas cookies than they want or can eat…
Think about how many cookies you really need (if any) and just bake that many cookies. If you’re honest, you’ll admit that, by the end of the holiday season, you’re getting a little sick of all those sweets.
Buying gifts that overextend your budget and throwing your budget out the window (just for the holidays), is another reason for the holiday blues. Most people buy gifts on credit, and they end up paying for their holiday expenditures–for months later. To avoid getting into serious debt, plan ahead. Designate a specific amount to be spent for each person—and stick to it!
Despite the movies that you’ve seen (and what your friends and co-workers tell you), most families do have conflict. The secret to getting through the holidays peacefully, is to learn to relax and not take the family interactions seriously.
Many of us get stressed over buying gifts for others. We want to please, but we don’t quite know what to buy.
Some of us want things, don’t know how to ask—and then hope that the gift giver will guess what we want.
That’s pretty hard to do, and it doesn’t happen very often. Learning to assert yourself and ask for what you really want (diplomatically), will help you get what you want and you will avoid being disappointed.
Managing holiday stress is not difficult, as long as you take the time to think things through. Work on a plan to make your Christmas preparations simple, and make a serious commitment to adjust your attitude and enjoy the holidays.
Need a little help with that? Self-hypnosis is a way to support your decision to have a stress free holiday. Hypnosis can help you adjust your thinking so that you are more relaxed and ready to face the holidays.
Mark Tyrrell from Uncommon Knowledge has created an excellent hypnosis download that will help you get into the proper spirit of Christmas–relaxed and positive.
If you have difficulty coping with holiday stress, make sure you check it out.