It’s hard to believe how fast the year is passing us by. The holiday season is right around the corner. If you’re anything like me, you are feeling excited anticipation with a touch of dread.
Don’t get me wrong, in theory, I love the holidays; the decorations, the songs, the seasonal foods, and all the holiday parties and family events. And to top it off, for me, it’s also my birthday. I say “in theory” because the holiday season has the opportunity for more stress-filled situations in six short weeks than at any other time of the year.
How can you handle the holiday stress and its challenges?
How to Cope With the Holiday Stress
Here are a few suggestions:
If you know you are going into a potentially volatile situation like a family dinner, I suggest some pre-event action. Prior to leaving your home get quiet and ground yourself. Create a mantra, or an action, which will help to keep you from getting triggered.
In addition, carry or wear a crystal that defuses negative energy around you. I have a bracelet I wear and if I start to react, I rub on the stones on my bracelet. Now that you have prepped yourself, if a loaded situation arises, silently repeat your mantra, hold or rub on your crystal to keep yourself mindful and centered.
Another suggestion for handling a potentially explosive gathering is to set the tone you’d like to have at your next family event. If you have a tendency to share unsolicited suggestions or comments, try a different tactic; share a kind word or compliment with everyone at the party. Another idea is to just talk less and listen more.
You’re at a gathering and you have an antagonist in your midst. This person is just peck peck pecking at you trying to get a reaction. What do you do?
You can do this by getting up and leaving the room, or if necessary, taking a short walk. It’s hard to pick at someone who is not there.
If you’re overwhelmed with all the cleaning, decorating, cooking, shopping that you have to do, here are a few suggestions to ease the feeling that you won’t be able to get it all done.
Get organized by making lists. Prioritize the most important or the most time-consuming activities on the list. Group the tasks or errands that need to be done so you’re not driving back and forth across town. Last but not least, delegate, recruit people to help you. Divide and conquer.
Too many invitations to parties, school events or group activities? Prioritize which parties or events you need or want to attend. Once you know which invitations you will accept, if appropriate, put a time limit for each event. If an hour is enough time, then block the hour.
If you know that you’ll need to be there for the entire span of the celebration, plan accordingly. Remember, there are only so many hours in a day and if you have to say no to the invitation, it’s not because you’re being rude, you’re practicing self-care.
Another area that seems to cause angst is the dreaded New Year’s Resolution. I stopped making resolutions years ago. I found that they don’t really work for me and I kept setting myself up for failure. Instead of making resolutions, how about setting personal goals?
Depending on the type of person you are, you might be happy setting a monthly goal. Others might like to set weekly goals. Whichever way works for you, set and meet your goals, I find this to be a kinder and gentler way to get things done or change a bad habit.
If holidays make you feel sad or lonely, then I suggest you step outside yourself and be of service to another. Helping an elderly neighbor by offering to take them somewhere or preparing a meal for them is a great way to feel better – not only because you helped someone, but because you’re getting that interaction, as well.
Volunteering is always another way to be of service during the holiday season. Something else you can do for you, is to attend a holiday concert, a production of the Nutcracker or go to a fun holiday movie. Better yet, invite another person who may be alone to attend with you.
If you are finding that you are having a hard time getting out of your holiday funk, reach out to a mental health provider, your doctor, or another type of healer. You don’t have to handle these feelings all by yourself.
I hope that these suggestions help you have a holiday season that you will remember with fond memories.
Wishing for you that all your holidays be filled with miracles and mirth, great health, happiness, and abundance.