For many people, the holidays are a joyous time –Time with family, lots of free time to have some fun and do some soul-searching. For many people, the holidays are also dreadful times – Time with family, lots of free time to do some soul searching Lol. Not to mention that New Year and New Year’s resolutions are just around the corner….
I love the holidays! I love the family getting together, I love the food (Big fan of cooking! Well, and eating…), I love buying presents and the holiday atmosphere. But I admit that each holiday brings with it a certain amount of anxiety. Yep, all this jolliness can be quite stressful.
Whether it’s deciding where to spend the holidays if you have a big family, or whether it’s feeling lonely because you don’t have a big family or one at all (quick remaindered that grass is always greener on the other side). Not to mention the pressure of hosting, cooking, organizing, buying gifts for everyone… ugh.
Yes, I know… your parents want you to spend the holidays with them but your in-laws had other plans in mind… or it’s your first time hosting and you just want EVERYTHING to be perfect – the table, the food, and the décor and what about all the people that don’t get along, who should you invite and should you ask them to bring something…? ahhhhh
Ok. Stop. Breathe.
To enjoy the time spent with family – all of you coming together to celebrate a wonderful tradition and being together. Nobody really cares about the color of the napkins (even though you think it’s going to be the talk of the year among your cousins).
We usually attempt to take on too much or do too much on our own during the holidays. Nobody expects you to be Martha Stewart. Just do the best that you can and remember it’s OK to ask for help from family and friends and it’s also OK to say no if people ask too much out of you…
Each of us has that little (or big) thing we haven’t accomplished yet – may it be losing that extra weight, finding the perfect partner, having kids, getting that job we always wanted, buying a house or figuring what the hell we want to do when you grow up. Self-criticism is hard enough without having different family members reminding us that…
The holidays tend to make us think about all the things we don’t have. You may think you spent all your time focusing on work and built yourself a wonderful career you’re proud of at the expense of starting a family…you look sideways and see your friend/sister/cousin with their children and get that little pinch inside. While they might be looking at you jealous as hell of your wonderful job, a life of travel or all of your free time.
Neil Barringham said that the grass is greener where you water it. It’s true. Focus on YOU and stop looking sideways.
We all have that one aunt or uncle that are just plain tactless. Asking all the wrong questions and commenting on EVERYTHING (you know who they are…). If what they say is overstepping your boundaries either state it directly letting them know how you feel or simply change the subject gracefully.
Some people just don’t realize what comes out of their mouths. It’s not their fault, they are just born that way…hahaha. Learn to accept that and to live with that. Although it’s hard to remember sometimes – nothing they say has to do with you personally. They are either oblivious to their surroundings or just unhappy, negative people bashing all their insecurities towards you.
Don’t get caught up in their negativity and don’t stoop to their level. Stay in your happy zone.
The “Golden Rule” is: Do not do to others what you would not want others to do to you.
First of all, you never know what other people are going through. What might seem like an innocent question to you or a genuine interest, might rub others the wrong way… Try to avoid all questions that are too personal (or have a hint of a critic in the tone) and go with more general, open questions, like “What are you up to these days?
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
Secondly, stop shoving your holiday spirit in other people’s faces. Please. If someone says they are full, they don’t want to drink any more wine or gonna leave earlier – let them be. Stop looking at other people plates – how much they ate or didn’t eat. Let everyone partake and celebrate in the way that makes them feel the most comfortable even if it doesn’t include another piece of pie.
Sometimes the cause of all this holiday anxiety is just unrealistic expectations of what our holidays SHOULD look like. We all see those happy shiny families on TV with their matching outfits and then when reality hits us in the face we get upset.
I say f*** expectations. Come on, nobody’s family is perfect. The sooner you realize that the happier you’ll be.
The pressure of producing the best meal, buying the best gifts, being the best host and not break a sweat while doing it all will for sure leave you everything but feeling festive.
Perfection is overrated. Who cares if your cake burned a little? Being real is the new black.
Tip: if something goes wrong (and it always will) laughing at the situation (and yourself) will not only keep you sane but will create a better environment for all.
We sometimes treat holiday traditions like the 10 commandments. Don’t get me wrong – I love traditions, I think that what makes family time so special and gives you something to look forward to each year.
BUT! Life changes constantly, and what used to work for you last year might not be right any more… For example, if you had a baby or if a family member is sick…
Charlynn Ruan, a Los Angeles-based clinical psychologist and founder of Thrive Psychology, suggests examining your traditions and figuring out what actually works well for you and what doesn’t. “Question your ‘shoulds, the holidays are filled with family traditions and expectations that we rarely question, but may not work for our family dynamics every year.”
While drowning your holiday sorrow in a bottle of Chardonnay may seem like a good idea at the beginning of the night. It’s not. Trust me. Alcohol can be loads of fun but it can also enhance your emotions and emphasize the “holiday blues”. Have fun and enjoy the celebrations but know your limits.
Gift-giving, decorating and hosting all cost money. A lot of money. Especially if you have a big family or you’re Jewish and have 8 days of Gift-giving on Hanukkah (Wtf? Lol). But it’s not what the holidays are all about. It is about being with the ones you love and celebrating with them, not the gifts.
Buy what you can in advance. I’m talking about everything– decorations, presents, some can goods. If you like it and it’s on sale. Get it. Even if it’s July. Hahaha
Moreover, think before you buy. Do you NEED that extra decoration or that extra dish? We usually make soooo much more food than people actually eat (raising a guilty hand)… I’m not saying be stingy, it is the holidays, just don’t overdo.
Read more about buying when you want to and not when you need to here.
There are so many ways to be creative with gifts. Try setting a spending limit. This will make people try a little harder and gift thoughtful gifts that don’t cost a lot. Suggest tarranging a secret Santa gift exchange – when you only buy one big gift for one person.
Maybe try spending money on experiences instead of gifts. Don’t know what to get your mother? Give a coupon for an entire day with you – go have breakfast, pamper yourselves, go to the movies – I promise you that those memories will last longer than any dress, book or frying pan you’ll buy her…
A lot of the holiday stress comes from the pressure we put on ourselves. Expecting too much, trying too hard, overthinking things and stressing it out. At the end of the day, it all comes to us.
This may not make everything better but taking care of ourselves during this time and being kind to ourselves can sure make a big difference. Meditate, practice self-care and self-compassion and especially during stressful times – make sure you do things that make you happy.
Rule number one is, don’t sweat the small stuff. Rule number two is, it’s all small stuff | Robert Eliot
It is the holiday season, right? So why not buy yourself a little something too? You deserve it.
It doesn’t have to be big – I could be buying that dress or earrings you were looking at or just treating yourself to a mani-pedi.
You know it by know – this is one of my absolute favorites. Read all about gratitude in this post. If the holidays make you see all the things you haven’t accomplished yet, try focusing on what’s going right. Maybe even try this super cool bucket list hack.
There is always something to be grateful for.
Just give in to the holiday spirit. yassss. Decorate your tree, make your own menorah, eat those latkes and drink that eggnog. Smile. Enjoy. Have fun. The holidays are going to be over before you know it so try to make the most of it.
May your holiday be as stress-free and joyous as possible!
How do you deal with holiday stress? any good suggestions? would love for you to share in the comments.
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