Managing Holiday Stress - shoppingIf you are looking for help managing holiday stress you are probably looking for answers. You want to enjoy the spirit of the season without losing yourself in the process. But stuff keeps getting in the way. The stress of worrying, shopping, decorating, traveling, family, kids, and money are taking the joy out of the holidays.  You know there is a part of you that enjoys Christmas but you can’t remember where you put it.

You are not alone.  Here are a few responses from a  quick, informal poll about holiday stress.  Maybe you have said (or thought) the same things:

“I love my family, but…”

“Trying to find the perfect gift stresses me out.”

“I want everyone to be happy.”

“Traveling.  With kids.”

“There’s never enough time.”

“There’s never enough money.”

“There’s too much food.”

There will always be more things to do than there is time to get it all done. Children will want the one thing you just couldn’t find.  Too many calories will be consumed. That one aunt, uncle, sibling, or brother-in-law will be obnoxious, grouchy, or drunk (or all three). And just when you think everything is perfect the dog will decide the Christmas tree and all the presents underneath it are new chew toys.

The Keys to Managing Holiday Stress

Managing Holiday Stress - entertainingUnderstand you can’t force others to change. You have the same three options during the holidays that you always have: do nothing, try to change others, or focus on yourself and what you can control. Accept that you really can’t control another human being. You can control how you react to people.

Have realistic expectations. Sometimes good enough needs to be the goal.  Perfection is never really quite attained.  We make ourselves crazy with unattainable goals and unrealized expectations.

Make a plan. Set a budget for gifts. Divide up decorating chores.  Delegate! Plan on shorter visits with extended family (if things are going well you can always stay longer). Or, take two cars so one of you can leave early.

Eat, sleep, exercise.  Remember to eat healthfully, sleep well, and exercise occasionally.  You will function more effectively if you concentrate on taking care of yourself.

Seek help. If family stressors are huge, or you are already struggling with anxiety or depression. seek help sooner rather than later.  Don’t wait until January. If you would like to make an appointment with Bowden McElroy and Associates, call 918.346.3665 or click the Schedule An Appointment button in the top right hand corner of this page.

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