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When you think about the holidays, what is it that stresses you out? Is it shopping for gifts, cooking a big feast, or feeling like there’s never enough time to get everything done? No matter what it is, I’m sure we’ve all experienced some form of holiday stress.
I would be lying if I told you that this was an easy thing to avoid. But with a few strategies for managing your anxiety and reducing your stress levels around the holidays – you can make this season one of joy instead of worry! Here are some tried and true techniques for reducing stress. Some of these may even be so powerful that you’ll want to use them all year long, not just during the holidays!
1)Recognize that everything does not have to be flawlessly executed.
Whenever you are feeling stressed, the main reason is probably that you’re trying to make everything perfect. We have this false sense of belief that if we don’t get every single thing just right, then nothing will be good enough. This is simply not true! You can choose to let go of this idea that your life needs to be picture-perfect all the time in order for you to feel good about yourself. Accept that even if you spill something or can’t seem to find your favorite dinner napkins, you may still have some lovely holiday gatherings.
2) Start holiday planning and preparations earlier.
What if you could cut your stress in half by doing all of your gift-giving and packaging in October? Or if you had all your holiday cards sent out in mid-November or early December? The less time you give yourself to prepare for the holidays, the more anxious and stressed you’ll feel. It’s just common sense!
Start planning for this season early so that your life can be filled with excitement, not worry! (And if you haven’t heard, a boudoir album is an amazing gift for your special someone!)
3) Scale down your holiday plans.
This could be harder for adults who have an overly idealistic viewpoint of the holidays that stems from their childhood experiences. Scaling back your plans entails letting go of your “perfect dream” for the holidays. Let’s face it, our idea of what the holidays should be like is often a re-creation of what we experienced growing up. If you had a very dysfunctional family life during the holidays, chances are you have a “perfect holiday wish” that never came true.
4) Say no gracefully
Parties are great when you’re in the right mood, but if you know that they’ll be too much for you this year – take a pass. Let go of the idea that you must plan and execute expensive, lavish events. Perhaps you’d prefer smaller, more intimate gatherings with close friends spread out over a few weeks or months rather than a large party that makes it difficult to really connect with your guests. It’s not an indication of selfishness or self-indulgence to take care of yourself! Do what makes you happy and don’t feel obligated to do anything else. If your friends give you a hard time about it – let them know that it’s your holiday season too, and if they really cared about you, then they would respect your needs.
5) Remind yourself that it’s not about the gifts
This might sound like a difficult thing to do, especially if you love giving presents or getting them – but it really is possible to separate presents from the holiday season itself. If you focus on what you’re grateful for instead of what gifts people are going to receive, this will take away some of the stress associated with gift-giving. It will also make this special time of year more meaningful in general! 10) Set goals for next year
Make the commitment to reduce your holiday tension this year. By shedding the urge to be perfect, beginning holiday planning earlier, scaling down expectations, and embracing the word “no”, you’ll bring your tension level way down.
Having a great community of women in your corner can also be a great help and inspiration when you’re feeling down, so join us in the ladies only VIP Community on Facebook: Confident Women of Louisiana (and beyond)