Are you one of the 8 in 10 that says they’re stressed during the holidays?

It seems like the minute Halloween ends, Christmas begins with Thanksgiving disappearing somewhere in between.  According to the American Psychological Association, 8 out of 10 people in 2008 anticipate stress due to the holidays.  So whether it’s financial stress or stress related to too many activities, doesn’t really matter.  The holidays are supposed to be enjoyable, at least most of us think so!  I’ve put together some suggestions that may just help the holidays be a little more festive this year.

  1. Stick to your routine!  Even on thanksgiving morning, no matter if you are hosting or driving across the country to see family.  Starting with a  good, nutritious breakfast is always a good way to start any day.  It will prevent overeating at dinner and snacking until bed time.  Taking time for some exercise, even if it’s only 15 minutes of walking, is more beneficial to your peace of mind than taking that time to rush around the house in a final attempt to prepare for the family.  You will be calmer and more enjoyable to be with.  Plus, who couldn’t use a bit of exercise prior to a Thanksgiving feast fit for a king?
  2. Say no!  You do not have to attend every function that you are invited to.  In our house, family comes first.  Try not to go overboard.  Ask yourself, do we really need five different kinds of Christmas cookies in the house?  By settling and only making three types of cookies, you can spend the time you were making the other cookies doing something more enriching, and better for you.  Like, hmmmm maybe exercising.
  3. Make a list!  Make a list of what things are important for you to accomplish this season.  You can prioritize events, baking, even presents this way.  Encourage the kids to do the same when they make their Christmas lists.  This way, you know what they are expecting and what is important to them, and it opens communication in case their requests don’t fit into the budget.  Make sure your expectations line up with what you really want to get out of this holiday season.
  4. Have fun!  Do something enjoyable!  Whether it’s a family game night once a week, or a weekly family dinner.   Whatever you find to be fun and enjoyable will undeniably beat holiday stress.  There’s nothing like good conversation and a good laugh.
  5. Take care of yourself!  If you are feeling overwhelmed take some time to take a few deep breaths, journal, or go for a walk.  All three are positive coping techniques that you can do on your own.  Also, if you battle with depression, these routines may be the only things that really help you get through the holidays.

That’s my list. Think of it as a survival guide for dealing with a family that has innate stress traits when it comes to the Holidays.  Have fun and be merry!

What works best for you in dealing with the stress of the holidays?

Photo Credit: popartichoke

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