“The greatest gift of all would be patience and understanding in such a chaotic and stressful time for us.” Savanna Smith
The holiday season is upon us. All around we see and hear messages of holiday cheer. The commercials, the greeting cards, and of course, my favorite, the Hallmark Channel, with its 24/7 stories of love, the perfect couples, family, happiness, homecomings, pretty decorations, and the perfect gifts.
We get bombarded with picture perfect scenes of how we THINK life should be. Do you already feel the STRESS creeping in? Decorating your home, finding the right gifts and hosting the perfect parties?
The stress sounds like this:
- Should I decorate the outside with fresh greens or could I get away with the fake ones? But the neighbors all use fresh greens.
- Can I give someone a gift card or is that too impersonal? I just don’t have time to shop.
- I’m invited to a party but I have nothing that fits me and/or I won’t know anyone.
- I want to have friends over but it’s so much work to organize – making sure the house looks festive, making the right foods, the time and the expense. And then there’s, “I want to keep it small and intimate but if I don’t invite all my friends then there’ll be hurt feelings.”
- I can’t wait for the holidays to be over!
Why do we put ourselves through this?
It’s exhausting isn’t it? So much meaning is attached to the holidays and that puts extra pressure on us. For those in the colder states, add on the shorter days (less sunlight), cold weather, and a landscape that at times can look a bit bleak and we have a recipe for depression.
Here are a seven tips to help shift from stress to serenity:
- Practice self-care: Be physically active by walking, gardening, raking leaves, going to yoga.
- Maintain healthy habits: Resist the urge to say, “I’ll be good after the holidays.”
- Watch that Gremlin: That voice in your head which says you are not good enough. Tell it to take a hike, you are doing your best.
- Be mindful of negative thoughts and patterns and what triggers them…if being with certain family members triggers stress for you then prepare yourself ahead of time and get in the right frame of mind with positive self-talk.
- Choose how you spend your time and who you spend it with. If something doesn’t appeal to you then suggest something different.
- Carve out quiet time for yourself and don’t feel guilty! Recharge and refresh.
- Create a new tradition with friends and family. Experiment and try something new.
It’s not too early to start planning for how you want to experience this holiday season. What can you do to turn the Holiday Blues into Holiday Joy?