5 Ways to handle Holiday Stress!
1.) Just say No: It somewhat worked for drugs, it can somewhat work for family/friends/coworkers! Choose what you want to participate in, and gracefully decline the rest. There is no reason to always participate in cookie swaps and silly gift exchanges that seem to number in the double digits in the work place and other extracurricular social circles. I am always so amused to see what “useless clutter” my wife comes home with after these events! If you have to participate…have fun with it. “Retrieve” an item from someones desk or the company supply closet a couple weeks prior and wrap that up! It’s not technically stealing if it doesn’t leave the building!
2.)Communicate: Let people know ahead of time what your priorities are for the season and don’t back down! Figure out with family how gifts will be organized and family time divvied up. If you do this with enough advance warning, it works out much better with less disappointments! For presents, decide on drawing names or theme the gift exchange like picking a “good cause” organization you wish to donate to. No…Amazon doesn’t count!
3.) Delegate: This is a great tool to bring relief to the holidays. If you know someone that is a whiz on the internet, or loves shopping, give them a list of gifts with a budget and an envelope full of money and say….”GO”… It is true that some people love “Black Friday” shopping and the adrenaline rush they get from getting a size 10 abrasion to the back of their leg when doors open and “pushing through it”. Personally I would just pay off a minimum wage employee a “twenty spot” to hide the item for me until I get there around noon!
4.) Decide to curb the Guilt: Resist the NormanRockwell Christmas demons of the 1950‘s. Nobody can live up to the “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets their wings” Christmas propaganda. It just isn’t like that! There are numerous scenarios during the holiday season that brings on feelings of guilt. Traditions, expectations and unspoken competitive posturing. Nobody likes feeling “cheap” as someone opens a gift from you that screams, “victim of Keynesian economics”. The truth is, things change, and with change we must adapt, be flexible, understanding, and accommodating. This goes with all traditions, expectations and cultural ‘norms’. This simplifying tip takes a little practice, but with time you will reap the harvest of “being an underachiever”. A quote by Ray Bennett M.D. in “An Underachiever’s Manifesto”, “If there isn’t at least one person in your life who thinks you’re living below your potential, then you’ve got work to do”. A couple more quotes by same, “Expectation leads to misery”, “Achievement leads to Expectations”.
5.) Practice Moderation: Moderate sugar intake, snacking, and portion size. Do not limit your holiday experience by abstaining from pie, cake or eggnog just because they contain “extra calories”. Simply allow yourself the pleasure without going back for seconds. This isn’t just important for physical wellbeing, but also for emotional self-care because you have to be realistic and not beat yourself up! Moderation can be a difficult thing to grasp for most of us. Moderation is relative, and that is precisely what makes it difficult. So your idea of moderate must be realistic within the context of some abstract baseline measure of previous experience. Don’t fool yourself! When we really think about it, we all know what is “reasonable.” I promise this simplifies your holidays because I hear this kind of self-damaging chatter throughout the whole holiday season…mostly from the female clan. It goes something like, “Oh dear me, I’m going to be as big as a barn if I eat that”. “Oh honey, don’t even look at the calories, you’ll just cry”. My personal favorite, “Deary, did you save the receipt so you can exchange it for a bigger size.” All in All moderation provides a reasonable expectation of experience, because you give yourself permission without feeling self-annihilating. It is the Holiday win-win when it comes to delicious eats!