Author: Linda Hampton
Much of our holiday stress is self induced. We all love the holidays and want to them to be a truly enjoyable and rewarding experience. We tend to spend a great deal of time and effort engaging in various activities trying to make the time period extra special. Our desire to have the best holidays possible often delivers an ironic just like O’Henry’s Gift of the Magi. Instead of enjoying the holiday season, we spend our holiday season stressed and worried about how to make our holidays perfect.
One of the chief causes of holiday stress is that gnawing feeling that the things you must do are going to outstrip your available time. Shopping, cooking, packing, wrapping and decorating suddenly fill what used to be your free time.
There are a few basic steps you can take to make your to-do list seem more manageable and to reduce your stress level.
1. Adjust Your Expectations
An often overlooked way to deal with holiday stress is simply readjusting your expectations of the holidays. The media and advertising industries lead us to believe that any holiday celebration that doesn’t end up resembling a Norman Rockwell print is a failure. This of course, is not the case. It’s fine to strive for a wonderful holiday season, but it’s not necessary to create the Perfect Holiday nor is it possible. Instead of concerning yourself with every detail, you can reduce your stress level by focusing on the parts of the holidays that are most meaningful and important to you and placing less emphasis on other aspects of the season.
2. Start Early
Here’s a rule about holiday stress we shouldn’t break – start early. We often laugh at the fact Christmas decorations tend to go up in shopping malls right after Halloween decorations disappear. Although we don’t necessarily need to take the not-so-subtle message of holiday commercialization to heart, we can learn quite bit from the early decoration trend. By starting our holiday preparations early, you can reduce the amount of pressure and stress you experience during the season.
3. Follow Santa’s Lead
Santa Claus, the song tells us, makes a list and checks it twice. If he left delivery of millions of toys up to his memory, he would probably be the North Pole’s most stressed resident. You can learn an important lesson from Santa Claus and can create your own organized list of holiday tasks and chores. By carefully assessing your holiday needs and expectations, starting early on the holidays and keeping an organized to-do list, you can make your holidays a pleasure!