How to Deal with Holiday Stress
The holidays… let’s face it, they aren’t all pumpkin spice lattes and Christmas ornaments. For many of us, it’s a super stressful time where we turn ourselves inside out and run around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to do everything and please everybody.
We gift shop, cook, travel, party hop, suck up contentious family dynamics and before we know it our holiday has become a second job.
Well, I say no more. Life is too short. And the holidays are the perfect time for you to take a holiday from all the pleasing we do on a daily basis. So, my first strategy for maintaining your sanity this season is learning how to say "no".
Ah, the power of no. Who's tried it? I’m guessing not many of you. This is because we get so caught up in facilitating other peoples happiness that many of us forget how to set boundaries. We feel like our value is dependent upon our ability to please. The problem with this behavior is that it leaves us feeling run down, depleted, and in some cases resentful. So, this season I want you to learn how to say "no" and set some boundaries, the first of which is safeguarding your time.
You do not need to take the co-worker to the airport (that is why God created Lyft). You don’t need to go to your roommate’s office holiday party, they will be fine if you can’t be their wingman for the night. You don’t need to take the kids to the trampoline park because they have the day off school, the world won’t end if they run errands with you. This may seem easy for me to say and tough for you to do, but I have found honesty is the best policy. Just tell your friend or family member the truth; that you love them and want to do it for them but you are spread a bit thin and you have things you have to take care of. If they don’t understand that then honestly that is a relationship that may need some serious rethinking to begin with.
Next up, gift giving! Now, while I appreciated the holiday spirit, spending money you don’t have doesn’t make anyone the merrier. So many get super stressed out at this time of year feeling pressure to buy everyone and their mother gifts AND to buy things for family members they really can’t afford. You don’t need to buy things to show appreciation or love. You can give cards and write something incredibly sincere in them. If you can’t afford to get mom the new laptop maybe consider having the entire family chip in and get it together. If the xbox and the bike are too much get one, but not the other. Maybe you could even suggest to your family and friends that you abstain from gift giving this season (kids not included) and just spend time with each other? Again, remind yourself that the holidays are about showing love and appreciation for dear family and friends, not maxing out your credit cards.
The last boundary is respect. If you have family members that don’t respect you that’s not a behavior you are required to tolerate. I don’t recommend fighting with them because everyone loses, but I do recommend avoiding them, shutting negative comments down by saying, “I don’t want to discuss this with you”, walking out of the room and so on. You must not allow people to insult you, belittle you, or attack you. This form of self preservation is key, and overtime you are retraining that family member how to behave when they are around you.
Bottom line, all the time you save by not taking care of everyone else’s agenda can be spent on getting to the gym, taking a ski holiday, or relaxing with a book in front of the fire. The money you save can go towards paying down a credit card so you head into the new year ahead of the 8 ball instead of behind it.
This holiday focus on protecting yourself, rejuvenating yourself, and starting 2018 off on the right note!