Do you dream of having the perfect holiday and making your home look like those you see in magazines and TV? Then you probably suffer from holiday stress as well. If you would like to actually experience a relaxing and enjoyable holiday, it’s time to give up on the myth of the perfect holiday. It doesn’t exist! Here are some ways you can reduce your holiday stress.
1. Rethink your card traditions. Send fewer cards or perhaps none at all. Consider making phone calls instead of sending cards. Imagine how much nicer it would be to actually talk to the college roommate you exchange cards with every year but haven’t seen or spoken to in 20 years. You might also want to digitize your mailing list, or even convert to e-cards.
2. Cut back on your gift giving. Consider making donations to a charity in the name of your friends and family instead. While it’s true that receiving gifts can make people happy, it doesn’t mean that they will be unhappy if you don’t give them a gift, or if you give a less extravagant gift.
3. Limit how much sugar you eat. Sugar impairs your immune system and causes water retention and mood swings. Much holiday depression is caused by eating too much junk food. Keep a few healthy meals & snacks on hand. Fruit, cut vegetables, nuts, popcorn and cheese are excellent alternatives to sweets!
4. If you are having a party, let your guests bring something. You don’t have to do it all yourself! Remember, people love to contribute. Don’t you?
5. Set a budget for the holidays. Many people spend thousands of dollars without even realizing it. Don’t spend beyond your means. Your true friends would not want you to suffer financial hardship because of the holidays.
6. Consider doing something radical and take a family vacation for the holidays instead of exchanging gifts! A trip to somewhere they love may be more memorable and appreciated than anything else you could give them.
7. If you aren’t ready to simplify your traditions, consider getting help. If you can’t get friends or family to help, hire an assistant or professional organizer to help you digitize your holiday mailing list, send out cards, organize and streamline your decorating, organize your party, or even help you get your gift shopping done. A cleaning service can also be a huge help in getting you ready for the holidays and for cleaning up after.
Sometimes we think we can’t simplify our traditions because we’ll disappoint others. In reality, people don’t expect nearly as much of you as you think they do. The truth is that most people don’t care how many decorations you put up or even whether or not you send them a card. Most holiday stress is self-inflicted by the stories we tell ourselves about what other people will think or how they will react. By rethinking the stories you tell yourself about your holiday traditions, you can start getting back to a simpler, happier holiday season!