Three Tips for Reducing Holiday Stress

As the wheel of time turns, once again we find ourselves facing the biggest holiday season of the year. Since it happens every year, you would think we would have the routine down pretty well by now. Yet, for many of us, it sneaks up and takes us off guard just as surely as a well-kept secret!

It is exciting to get into the holiday spirit, busily filling our calendars with parties, events, celebrations, visiting relatives, shopping, and decorating the house. Meanwhile those very activities can cause our nerves to unravel and our tempers to flair. While we scurry between destinations and try to remember all that needs to be done, we tend to overeat, drink more than usual, skip our workouts, and teeter near the edge of losing our minds!

If you are ready to break old patterns, shake things up so you can get a different result than you have experienced in the past, and maintain your holiday health, here are few suggestions to consider.

1. Remember what is valuable to you. Create a list entitled “My Goals for the Holiday Season 2012”.  If you have a spouse or children, you may suggest that they, too, make a list. Each person’s list is personal and may not be the same as anyone else’s list. It may include entries such as “create positive memories with extended family members”, or “find opportunities to open communication with my mother”. Or a goal may be to work out no fewer than 3 times a week, or refrain from drinking alcohol when the children are present.

Keep the list handy. Read it daily as you start your day. Then, if you begin to feel rushed, or if a relative becomes irritating or starts an argument, it will be easier to be clear about your personal goals in that moment.  You can stop, take a breath, and ask yourself which response is aligned with your values–to win an argument or to love your family.

2. Honor yourself and your closest loved ones. Create boundaries for yourself and allow your spouse and children to create their own as well. Communicate with each other about this so everyone is clear and can provide support and cooperation.

If attending an event will create undue stress and strain, or is counter to your values, be clear about it and take steps to maintain the joy in your life and in your memories of the season. Also, be sure to block off time in your schedule to rest and regroup your energies and thoughts.

3. The best holiday gift is to be present. Focus on the creation of positive memories, community of friends and family, and the spirit of the season, rather than on whether things are perfect and other distractions. Give attention to your loved ones, to your experiences, and to the spirit of who you are and the reason you are celebrating this holiday.

So now, as the wheel of time spins around, it doesn’t have to be in a circle that returns to the same old patterns and results that have been experienced in the past. You can spiral up to a new perspective and achieve a new, improved, outcome.

Wishing you joy, health, and the creation of exquisite memories during this holiday season!