Reducing Holiday Stress

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The holidays bring people together—for better AND worse. This time of year is an emotional pressure cooker. Holidays are built around ritual and community. They force you to take a hard look at your relationships and it isn’t always pretty. However, the holidays can be an amazing time to celebrate life and all the beautiful people and things in it. Remember, they are your holidays too and you should be able to enjoy them fully. Follow these tips to keep a cool head and warm heart this season.


Preparation

Start everything before it’s necessary. You know the person who skips into work on December 1st and tells you that his/her shopping is all done? Be that person. If you have guests visiting then start cleaning early. Plan your meal ahead of time; maybe even cook it once to confirm that you have everything down. Dust. Throw everything into your washers and put a few of those scented plug-ins around. The colder weather pushes everyone inside, so you want a welcoming inside to retreat to. You cannot be too prepared.

Let Go of Perfection

Marketers build the holidays behind a rose colored glass. Everything on TV and in stores is idyllic and charming. This isn’t real life. In real life sometimes the turkey gets burnt or maybe you can’t afford the turkey. In real life in laws are catty and friends get too drunk. We don’t see these images depicted because the families on TV aren’t real. Accept that not everything will be perfect; ornaments will break, candles will go out and you’ll get a terrible present or maybe no present at all. However your celebrations wrap up remember that you have a completely unique experience. Absolutely no one’s holiday will be exactly like yours, and there’s a lot of beauty in that.

Lend a Hand, Take a Hand

Accept help. This is the season of giving, so it’s wonderful to lend a hand where help is needed. However, you should not feel that the holidays depend on you. No one can do everything. Let your friends help you and vice versa. Share your shopping lists. I have a friend who lives on a completely different side of town. Each year I give her some of my shopping and she gives me some of hers. By doing this we never have to make the cross town commute that can add hours to errand running. Having multiple people looking for the same thing also makes it easier to find the best deal. If you are entertaining then ask your guests to bring something to the party. Many people receive baked goods or festive beverages for the holidays. Your guests will be happy to get all those sweets out of their house and you can save some holiday cash.

Stay ahead of the game, accept the things you cannot change, ask for some help and you too can experience the merriment that all those commercials have been selling for years. Happy Holidays!

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