One of the most stressful times of the year is the holiday season. There are more heart attacks and strokes during this time of the year. The holidays are suppose to be a fun and enjoyable time. We get all pumped up and excited about all the good things and expectations of what will happen. That is probably where our problem lies. We start to worry about everything.
Will Aunt Jane arrive on Southwest Airlines on time? Will we get our Christmas bonus or has the economy done us in? Will my small gift be good enough for my boss or wife? What can I make for our holiday meal? How can I make my home look pretty for the holidays? Will my budget get me through successfully? What is we get hit by a blizzard? Can I make my San Diego connection to get home on time? These are just a few of the pressures that we put on ourselves. The thing is that sometimes, we heap more on us than we really need.
No matter how hard we try to avoid these matters, they always come up. There is no way to get around them. However, there are ways to help deal with them. In many ways, it comes down to dealing with ourselves.
Here are some helpful suggestions that might work for you.
1. Plan now. Map out your strategy to avoid what we call the “holiday rush.” Planning gives you a since of control.
2. Shop early. Don’t try to do everything at once. Look at your calender and set target dates for acquiring gifts.(Make a list)
3. Keep yourself in shape. Stress and lots of running around works to zap your body and energy. When your resistance goes, you can easily get ill. A good diet and exercise will go a long way in keeping you healthy and mentally sharp. Don’t binge eat on snacks. This is easy to do over the holidays.
4. Share responsibilities with others. Don’t do it all yourself. Everything from cleaning your home and decorating it to picking somebody up at the airport. Designate responsibility to others.
5. Keep your expectations realistic. Don’t set your sights so high that you have a major letdown.
6. Slow down and enjoy the small things. Take time for yourself (quiet time). Read a book. If a book is too long, read articles that lift your spirit. Watch holiday programs that are uplifting. Many times, when I watch television, I look at house decorations to get ideas. I focus on them instead of the program and even jot down some ideas.
7. Set a holiday budget and stick to it. Balance your spending on individuals.
8. Go early to events. If you have a child’s Christmas concert to attend, try to go early and get a seat up front. (Take your camera). I carry mine in my overcoat over the holidays.
9. Meditate, Yoga, and Church. All three of these will give you some order in your life. I especially like church. Many times I will go early or say afterwords. This is my time to pray, say thanks, or just quietly think and reminisce about holidays past and friends and relatives that have left me.
10. Sleep. Get at least eight hours each night. Take a nap if you need too during the day. A power nap can revive your energy.
Lastly, keep everything in the right perspective. The three major areas of worry are relationships, finances, and personal expectations. Somethings you can control and other things you can not. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
Keep a smile on your face.