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Stress and the Holidays

"It's the most wonderful time of the year."

Holiday Overload - Are You Overdoing It?

How are you lightening your load? Pressure to meet expectations and goals, whether real or perceived, can lead to disappointment, physical pain, arguments, and burnout. For many, the close of the calendar year is anything but a time of joy. But, is it possible to maneuver this time of year without negative impacts on ourselves or others?

Not all of us who encounter these annual conflicts are Holiday Perfectionists. Some of us merely want to provide gifts, make holiday parties, pay bills, and meet deadlines without an upset stomach, headache, back tension, throbbing temples, uncontrollable itching, regret, self-doubt, let alone an argument.

Time, like gravity, is a force -- that means deadlines are either met or missed. To keep balance during a time when time limitations are multiplied, we offer a few tips:

  1. "No" Can Be Beautiful - Imparting regrets to some activities can be a gift back to yourself, especially when one is hyper-scheduled. Additionally, without additional support, saying "sure" regarding an expanding project may not be advisable. Great rule of thumb, "under promise, over deliver."

  2. Remember the Reason of the Season - Hanukah, Christmas and Kwanza were not founded as consumer holidays, yet gift-giving seems to be the cornerstone of our current year-end celebrations. Reviewing the humble origins of these traditions can soften the heart and slow the pace to trod the mall.

  3. Keep It Light - Acknowledge that this is a hectic and frenzied season and find some humor in it. Lower your perfectionist quotient. Give others a little more room to follow through.

  4. Question Absolutes - Even if Christmas is December 25th, it is not the only day gifts can be exchanged. As charming as they are from a distance, traditions should not be suffocating and stress inducing. Craft an option that works for you.

  5. Remember to Gift Yourself with Time Out - Once upon a time, timeout was viewed as a punishment. However, with the rush of the holiday season and the demands from all sides, generously provide yourself with the gift of time out. Use it to meditate, exercise, or your favorite hobby.

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