The holiday season is here. You can hear Christmas carols on the radio and get eggnog from the store. With all this holiday cheer, how can you avoid the stress of the season? Let's face it. Some holiday-related stress is to be expected. Cookies will be burned. Flights will be canceled. How you react to it determines how the holiday will be remembered. And the pressure hits some people harder than others.
So how can you become one of those people who chuckles at adversity—silly snowstorm!—instead of crying into pumpkin pie? Here are six suggestions to to prevent the meltdown and stop the implosion before it happens.
1. Create realistic expectations. If your holidays are more “Christmas with the Griswolds” than a Norman Rockwell painting, that’s alright. Embrace your situation (and your family) and go with it.
2. Just say “no” to extra obligations. Plan ahead, set priorities of how you will and won’t spend your time this season, and be sure to commit time for things you really want to do during the holidays. Don't let your son's music teacher make you feel bad if you can't bake six dozen Silent Night cupcakes for the Open House at school tomorrow.
3. Ignore media pressures to overexert and overspend. Remind yourself that these are marketing ploys and don’t give in to pressure to spend and do more. Do you really need gifts for every person on your street?
4. Set a budget and stick to it. Money problems do not disappear with the glow of holiday lights. Stay the course and give gifts that reflect your personal style, not a high price tag. Keep the two page credit card bill out of your mailbox in January.
5. Maintain healthy limits. Eat and drink sensibly, get enough sleep and try to get a little exercise. You’ll be less cranky if you’re taking good care of yourself. It's more difficult to have a tantrum on a full night's sleep.
6. Embrace new holiday traditions. Create new traditions that fit in better with your family and friends. Review your various holiday activities and let go of those traditions that drain your time, money or energy.
There’s no need to let the frantic pace of December turn you into a Grinch. Let these tips increase
your enjoyment of the holiday season. Remember – lower stress levels lead to a happier you.