Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Years…this is supposed to be fun, right? So why does it stress everybody out so much and so ENDLESSLY? Again…this is supposed to be fun, right? If you find yourself questioning the validity of holiday “celebrations” and wonder how you’re going to make it through…here are a few tips to make sure you actually get to 2015 with enough sanity left to make a few New Year’s Resolutions.
Stress levels during the holidays can run high. Emotions tend to be near the surface. While it’s the time to be “jolly” it’s also the time when many people find themselves questioning their sanity. Here’s a few tips on how to cope with the stress and enjoy the holidays:
Coping with the Holidays Tip #1 – Expect it to be Stressful
If you are expecting everything to be perfect, you are going to be disappointed. Remind yourself when you’re getting ready to go to a party or head out on a vacation that things would go wrong, there would be stressful moments and unexpected situations would happen. Your in-laws might be rude. Your kids might break an irreplaceable antique at the grandparents house. The house will end up being a mess. The list of “to do’s” will be too long. And things always end up being hectic. Be realistic and approach it knowing that a certain level of anxiety is normal, but that doesn’t have to overpower all the good stuff.
Coping with the Holidays Tip #2 – Don’t Over Schedule
The easiest way to increase your levels of stress to insurmountable levels is to over schedule yourself. A lighter calendar might be better for everyone. Ensure that you get enough sleep and that you’re allowing yourself and your loved ones enough downtime. Keeping everyone “wound up” the entire time you are on vacation or celebrating the holidays with friends and family is the best way to generate the perfect scenario for blow ups.
Coping with the Holidays Tip #3 – Plan for Alone Time
Take it one step further and plan for alone time. Alone time can be a life saver for those who usually feel overwhelmed at large family events or parties. How do you get some alone time without offending the people you love? It doesn’t have to be preceded by a fit and a slamming door. Simply take a jog or a walk. Go out to run a quick “unavoidable” errand. Take the time you need alone that will rejuvenate you and allow you to enjoy spending time with your friends and family.
Coping with the Holidays Tip #4 – Make a Choice and Make it to be Happy
Before anything starts – decide to be happy. So when a moment arrives for you to decide to be offended or not – you already know the answer. You’ve already decided to be happy. When the tension starts to mount during the annual White Elephant Gift Exchange…you already know you aren’t going to let it touch you. Others can lose their cool and decide to be upset, but you’ve already made your decisions…to be happy.
Lastly, don’t forget that the holidays are a time meant to be enjoyable. It’s a time we intend to be special – a time to spend with the people we love. It was never intended to be a torturous event. Decide now to approach the next event with realistic expectations, a decision to be happy, the knowledge that you are in charge of your schedule and your time…and you’ll be able to enjoy it! There’s a lot to love about the holidays and it’s time for you to love it! Now…where are you celebrating the New Year?
For more information on coping with the holidays or other life events, contact Lynn Brimhall, LCSW at New Adaptations where we believe that everyone has within themselves the power to heal and move forward with forgiveness for past hurts; forgiveness not as an excuse or free pass, but as a process of letting go and moving forward.