Contributed by: Elaine Irons RN, MSN
What preparations have you made to reduce holiday stress? Can you believe that it is already December? As the holiday season approaches, you may be excited and enthusiastic, or already feeling anxious, exhausted or a little blue. All of these feelings are normal. To simplify your holiday preparation, you may want to ask yourself the following questions:
- Which holiday traditions are meaningful and which are merely habitual?
- Which social activities are pleasurable events and which are just obligations?
- Which gifts do you love to select and give and which to you hate shopping for and feel required to give?
From your answers to the above questions, you can reduce your stress by making a list of the things you think that you “should” do and a list of the things that you “want” to do during the holiday season. If you have too many things on your list to accomplish without feeling overwhelmed or stressed out, reduce or eliminate the activities you believe you “should” do to provide more time and energy for the activities you truly enjoy.
Other things to keep in mind:
- Organize your holiday priorities by reflecting on the deeper meaning and spirit of the holidays for you personally, your family, humanity and the world.
- Be open to change. Each holiday season is different and can be enjoyed in its unique way. Try to focus on the present and look toward the future instead of dwelling on the past.
- Take care of yourself. Pay attention to your own needs and feelings during the holiday season. Eat sensibly, exercise and get plenty of rest.
- Last but not least, be encouraged knowing that your “best” does not have to equal “perfect.” Superman and Wonder Woman are imaginary characters!
As states in the quote by W.P. Kinsella, “Success is getting what you want; happiness is wanting what you get.”