Managing holiday stress by taking control
Do you get overly stressed just thinking about holiday responsibilities?
If you’re like most people, you always vow to shop earlier, plan better, and enjoy more activities during this season. But, like most, here you are again – likely facing deadlines with too much to do.
Money issues might be stressing you as well. A tight budget can play havoc with anyone’s nerves this time of year.
One couple we know got into a major argument about three years ago. Before the wife could get her shopping finished, the husband went out and bought himself a new wide-screen TV. He’d blown their budget.
The wife got so unnerved, she actually tossed their Christmas tree outside in the yard! She unplugged the lights, dragged the thing on the porch, and sent it flying into the front sidewalk area.
While many of us have made fools of ourselves at one time or another, it’s a good idea to calm down and think through productive strategies this time of year.
It helps to admit what’s getting you down. Then, take some steps to switch things around a bit.
For example, these techniques can help:
- Identify your biggest stress issue of the season. Then, define what will cool it. For instance, if your husband’s ex-wife pops up at your friend’s New Year’s Eve Party every year, you might avoid the party. Or, tell your husband you expect him to focus on you when she shows up.
- Don’t envy other people. Do things your way and be thankful. For example, last year a friend of ours was envying the high budget her sister was allowing herself for Christmas shopping. By March, the sister’s house was in foreclosure. Never assume other people are better off than you are.
- Make some bold decisions that reduce stress. For instance, if you have family members coming from out of town, it’s okay to set some limits. For example, you might rent a moderately-priced hotel suite at your own expense for your sister and her family. Explain to her that you want her family to hang out at your house during the days, but feel comfortable, not cramped, at night.
“I used to feel beat up like an old car during the holidays,” says a woman we’ll call Beth. “I would start my shopping and planning, wondering what others expected of me.”
These days, Beth has changed her tune. Instead of working like a busy people pleaser, she is pushing the power buttons by setting limits.
“This year, I sent out only four Christmas cards to my adult kids,” Beth told us. “I used to send 70 cards to my friends and family, which was taxing to do.”
Beth continues, “This year, I ask my friends to each bring a large pizza for a New Year’s Eve party. I used to make everything myself. I used to hire a band, but these days, I can’t afford that. We’re going to play old vinyl records, and everybody is coming in jeans and sneakers. My over-fifty friends are going to have a dance contest. We may look crazy, but we’re going to have fun.”
Having flexibility and a sense of humour always helps curtail stress. For example, if you’re celebrating the holidays with someone who practices a different faith than you, set the stage for harmony. Tell them, “We are celebrating love. We can celebrate our differences, too.”
Tribune News Service
Liked this? Read these!
Got something to say? Get it off your chest here
The Juice Daily is a Fairfax Media owned website