For many of us Christmas and the holidays can be a double-edged sword. They can be a joyous time with family and friends, and at the same time they can also be a very stressful time.
Psychologist Richard Bedrosian wrote an article about what we can do in our personal and professional lives to minimize the anxiety the holidays often bring. “A lot of stress in people’s everyday lives has to do with the number of things that begin to add up. At holiday time people become sensitized to stress because they have more of a demand.”
Here is some advice from Dr. Bedrosian.
- Set a Mission and Stick to It. When a lot of tasks and issues are flying through your head, it helps to set one above the rest. Remember why the holidays are really important to you. “If your mission is to connect with family, then being together is all that really matters – no matter where you are, or what you’re eating. If you are after rest and relaxation, then taking time for yourself is critical.”
- Respect Your Limits. Don’t push yourself too much. You want to stay well clear of your breaking points. “If you are tired, rest. If you are hungry, eat. If you are overburdened with extra tasks for the holidays, try to let some of your other responsibilities slide for a few weeks.”
- When Buying Gifts, Set a Budget. The holidays can be an expensive time. Making a budget for each person you buy gifts for can help. If you tend to overspend, try to make all your purchases with cash.
- Don’t Worry About the Perfect Gift. “Some people really work very hard at trying to get the right thing, trying to be creative,” he explained. That effort can be taxing. “Most any gift can be returned or exchanged.”
- Make the Holidays More Low Key: Many families have holiday rituals. They may seem like they’re set in stone but they’re not. Minor changes to reduce stress are possible. “Perhaps you can get by this year without the ice sculptures in your yard or the open house for everyone in the neighborhood. Going a year without sending cards is not going to ruin your relationships.”
Bottom line: Your holidays may not look or feel like the “Hallmark moments” staged in television commercials, but if you stop looking for perfection, they can be a wonderful time for you and your loved ones.
Happy Holidays from Estelia, Nolan, Sharon, Valerie and Todd.