I have been thinking about this a lot recently. I have got to find a way to make my holidays less stressful. There are so many sources of stress these days: commercialization of holidays, work (or lack thereof),
- Focus on what is important and let the little things slide. I know this isn’t easy. I’m still working on this myself, but I realized over Thanksgiving that it was much more important that I got to see my 90+ year old grandmother and that she got to see my young children than the fact that everyone in the family is harping on the job situation for my husband and how I should fix it. I’ve been trying to focus on her joy rather than the negatives and the stress.
- Draw boundaries where necessary. Sometimes people don’t realize that they are offending or bothering you. You may need to let them know as gently as possible – or you may have to be blunt.
- Get away from the situation if you can. Sometimes you simply need a break from the situation. Step back for a little while. Do something that relaxes you. Come back to the situation when you are calmer and can deal with it rationally or calmly.
- Do something nice for yourself. Soak in the tub. Get a pedicure. Find a quiet spot and read your favorite book for 10-15 minutes. Talk to someone else about the stress or ask for some assistance, depending on what is stressing you. Get away from all of the activity for a little while; find some quiet time. Get up 15 minutes before everyone else so that you can get a quiet, slower start to the day. Go to bed 15 minutes early for some peace and quiet. Try meditating for 15 minutes before bed.
- Cut back on holiday activities. I know that if you travel somewhere for the holidays many people probably want to see you, but you can overextend yourself easily. Try to arrange a get-together in one place of as many people as possible to avoid having to drive around through your entire visit. And know your limits – simply say “No, I’m afraid I can’t make it over this time. I’m sorry but we’ll have to visit next time.”
I really think that holidays should be less about stress and driving around and seeing absolutely everybody and more about really enjoying the time you have with the people you do get to see. If you spend more time in the car than you do visiting with people, you are going to be stressed.
I realized this holiday that I really have to look at what I’m doing wrong. This was the most stressful holiday I’ve ever had. I enjoyed very little of it and there has to be something I can do to avoid a repeat of it. The things I listed above are some ideas I’ve had about my own experiences. I also realized that I set myself up for some of my stress; I tried too hard to please everybody and neglected my own needs. That has got to change for the next visit. Take some time to look at what you didn’t like about the last holiday and think about what you can do to improve it.