4 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress

Relaxing Holiday Party

If the holidays at your house are anything but “all is calm, all is bright” then you’re not alone.  Too many of us are freaked out, maxed out, or stressed out this time of the year. Here are 4 ways to reduce holiday stress before it begins so you can stay peaceful rather than become overwhelmed.

1. Set your priorities. 

Before you get buried by the avalanche of activities, it’s important to decide which traditions are fulfilling and which are fluff.  So, if you are usually slammed by a flurry of baking, gift shopping and wrapping, parties, sending cards, visiting relatives and other activities that leave you exhausted until February, you may want to examine your priorities, pick a few favorite activities and really enjoy them.

2. Use Your Calendar

Put everything on your calendar. Everything. I mean it. This may sound silly at first, but the holiday gets so busy that you really cannot do everything. And occasionally things may slip your mind.  No matter how much you need to attend a work Christmas party and a family Christmas party, it is impossible to be at both parties on the same Saturday night. If it’s on the calendar you won’t double book yourself then have to explain to a hostess why you will not be attending.

3. Togetherness

Being with family can be a wonderful thing, but we recognize that sometimes there can be too much of a good thing if you are trying to cram a lot of people in a small space.

One of my favorite family holiday get-togethers happened a few years ago.  My daughter and I arrived with a plan.  We decided instead of everyone either watching TV after dinner or falling into a turkey coma, we would play a game that kids and adults could play. We had a blast! The teens were hilarious. The young readers could contribute and the elders could keep up. Having a very simple, easy-to-execute plan can make all the difference in making wonderful memories.

4. Expectations

Most of us have wonderful memories of Christmas past. Sadly, we try to meticulously recreate these memories and events. We set the bar and our expectations so high it’s impossible to achieve. Be open to new experiences and new memories.

I remember I wanted a holiday to be perfect. When we accidentally spilled an entire two liter bottle of soda on our white dog, turning him orange, all we could do was laugh. Perfection was out the window, but we still talk about our orange dog happily lapping up soda off the floor.

This really can be the best time of the year. You don’t need to be perfect, just have fun.