Monday, December 7, 2009
The Secret to a Merry Christmas: Skip the Stress
As your life spins into the busy holiday season, how can you avoid the stress of "holiday blues?" One way is to avoid the tyranny of the "shoulds" and take time to do what you enjoy. Keep the season's purpose in mind and stay within the guidelines of common sense.
Remember to take care of yourself. Holidays often bring attitudes of over-indulgence and then later, feelings of guilt. Eat and drink sensibly─you'll feel better at the time and not have to deal with the consequences afterwards. When things get hectic, take time out for a brisk walk. It's amazing how this clears the head and gives you a fresh outlook. Indulge yourself a little─get a massage, take a hot bath, turn off the television and all those Christmas commercials and curl up with a good book. Give yourself a gift.
Simplify your celebrations by setting up realistic time and money budgets and sticking to them. Limit scheduled special events so that something isn't going on every night of the week. Stay home and enjoy your decorations with family and close friends.
Decide ahead of time how much you should spend for Christmas and then stick with it. To avoid the stress of overspending, make a list of those you buy for and keep track of the presents you've bought. It's easy to forget what you've already purchased when you're in the thick of Christmas shopping. Don't worry about what others are giving, stay within your own financial means.
Some people enjoy the scramble of last-minute shopping. But if waiting until the last minute makes you frantic, do something about it by buying gifts gradually, throughout the year.
If you're giving a party, consider making it pot-luck or at least asking for help. You don't have to do everything yourself and a party doesn't have to be flawless. Remember parties you've attended? Probably some of the best ones were spontaneous.
Not everyone is thrilled with the holiday season. For some, it is a sad, unpleasant time of year. Try to understand their depression and be especially understanding of their needs.
For many, giving of yourself is key to a happy and satisfying holiday season. There is no greater joy than knowing you've contributed to someone's happiness during this time of year. Every community holds charitable Christmas programs. Get involved in whatever way you can within your own time and money constraints by giving food, a new toy or clothing to a needy family. How about driving an elderly person to a mall? If you bake, nothing lights up people's eyes like a plate of homemade Christmas cookies. And be open to receiving another's gesture of love to you.
Above all, avoid the trap of striving for "perfection." Nothing is perfect and trying to make it so only brings on stress and frustration. Settle for a little imperfection and you'll have a more relaxed, carefree holiday.