How to create memories not madness
“May your walls know joy, may every room hold laughter, and every window open to great possibility.”
~ Mary Anne Radmacher
The festive season is fast approaching and for many people stress, depression and anxiety can make this season anything but merry. You probably know what you have to do between now and December 31 ~ or at least you have an idea. Do you, like me, have notes scribbled on parking tickets, stickies and other scraps of paper?
Setting ambitious goals and achieving them is a good thing – as long as they represent what you truly want. This month is a perfect time to explore what you love, what you don’t, and what makes a holiday a time of joy and peace.
Follow these 6 stress reduction tips for avoiding burnout during the holidays:
1. Write it down: On a sheet of plain paper, create two columns. In the left column, write down the things on your “to do” list for this month. In the right, describe the hoped for outcome. Then take an objective yet personal look at the list: do you want to change the amount of effort you put into some of the tasks? Do you want to cross off certain chores altogether? This exercise is a wonderful way to lighten your load from the very beginning.
2. Lower your expectations: The holidays can be exciting! Being with loved ones, holiday decorations, lights, presents and much feasting! As the season approaches, expectations increase. Try not to place high expectations on how events will unfold. Always expect the unexpected. Remember people may react unpredictably and surprisingly. Avoiding high expectations leads to a more calm and peaceful state. Choosing to release attachment from outcome will not only reduce stress but cultivate balance and spaciousness throughout the holidays.
3. Plan ahead: Once you have made your list from tip #1, make a detailed plan for all of the things you need to do. Be thorough and try to do as much in advance as possible. The more you can get done before the holidays, the less stressful the season will be. Include shopping, decorations, wrapping, meal preparation, sending cards, visiting family, and a schedule for the celebration days. Becoming organized will help you to get more done and feel less stressed. Make checklists so you can mark progress as you go. Another great tip is to have a backup plan in case things go awry.
4. Delegate: Happy holidays may take much work. The festive dinner alone can be difficult work for the cook! Too much work leads to stress and burnout so make sure everyone shares the workload. It’s true – many hands make light work – and they also reduce stress in doing so. Involve everyone in the household!
5. Family: As much as the holidays are about spending time with family, having family visit can be highly stressful. Not all families get along, and stress levels can soar at get-togethers. If you have family members who are unappreciative, argumentative, aggressive, sulky – the kind of people who will spoil the day – then say “no!” and don’t invite them. The holidays are about joy and happiness. Your only duty is to your immediate family – your spouse, partner, and your children – not to any other family members. If you know there are going to be fireworks, make everyone’s day memorable by inviting wisely.
6. Set your budget and stick to it. It’s really tempting to spend money during the holidays and many people create huge debts doing so. The debt then becomes a major stress factor after the holidays have ended. You don’t need to buy people expensive gifts and you don’t need to go into debt to impress people. The internet is a fantastic source for finding creative and imaginative gift that show thoughtfulness. Debt is to stress what pizzas are to waistlines and you can pay a heavy price for impressing people. Stick to your budget and you will reduce stress, not just over the holidays but for many months after.