The holidays are around the corner and with food, family and fellowship can also come holiday pressure and frustration. Some things are out of our control, however here are a few tips to help avoid or reduce holiday stress, so you can enjoy time with friends and family.
Plan in advance. One of the things that I’ve learned is that waiting until the last minutes to do anything is NOT a good idea. It’s a path that will lead you down the road to stressville. Trying to hit a grocery store a few days and even the day before Thanksgiving is not a good idea. If you can get your groceries the week before and store it in the freezer that will ensure your not left with slim pickings as the day draws close. Oh yes, and be sure that if you are the chef… prep, prep, prep! This will alleviate day of tension. Also, if you are traveling for the holidays, pack in advance. Make a list of items you need and don’t want to forget. If you are bringing gifts, consider mailing them in advance so you don’t have to worry about traveling with them on a train or plane or taking up precious leg room if you are driving. Lastly, If you can, arrive a day before. That will leave you time to get a good nights rest, wash away the travel cloud and be prepared to help with holiday prep.
Ask for help. A few years ago when my husband and I moved into our new home; I was too excited to host our first Thanksgiving dinner. I planned everything from the menu, down to the place settings and even had a timeline of events. I cooked all the food, mind you I did not prep anything (refer to number 1) and at the end of the evening when I went to load the dishwasher, my back nearly gave out. My husband saw me in distress and despite my nearly having a fit, he politely helped me to the couch and told me to have a seat. I said the dishes had to be done and he kindly said he’d take care of it and then asked me why I didn’t ask for help. All I could do was scratch my head because I had no answer to that question. I learned that trying to be Wonder Woman is not necessary and asking for help is pretty simple. Don’t feel like you need to do everything yourself. If asked I am sure anyone would be glad to help.
Accept that everything will not be perfect. It’s very easy to get caught in the moment and festivities of the holidays and set unrealistic expectations of how things should go. Or have a schedule of events so tight there is no room to improvise and just enjoy time with family and friends. For those moments when you forget something on your grocery list, if it isn’t an absolute must, just let it go, or see if someone else can pick it up. Part of the holidays is making memories and leaving room to giggle at ourselves (and our mistakes).
Be reasonable. Don’t plan to stop by everyone’s home who sent you an invitation. Pick one, maybe two places to stop by that way you actually get to enjoy time with your company and not feel rushed. Accounting for travel time to get from one place to the next, with the comfort of not having to keep looking at your watch every few minutes.
Have Fun! Lastly, remember the holidays are a time to share and make new memories with friends and family. Not to be so bogged down and overloaded that you can’t enjoy it or have everyone avoiding you because stress makes us all a little frazzled. Make that commitment to yourself and those around you, and don’t forget to take lots of pics and share the memories!