Holiday Stress Management
Four Tips to Help You Enjoy all the Fa La Las
By Susie Cortright
Decking the halls and spreading good cheer can be stressful. Here are some
tips to make sure you enjoy every last fa la la.
1. Stay Centered. An energized and peaceful holiday season is possible only when
you can keep your priorities straight. Take a pen and paper and ask yourself:
What do you value, above all else? What comes second? Third? How important is
your spirituality, your family, your profession, your time for yourself? After
some thought and reflection, rank your top priorities on a Post it Note where
you will see it throughout the day. (Mine is on my computer monitor). Refer to
your list when asked to make commitments and compromises. If the request does
not jibe with your list, you do not only have permission, you have an
obligation, to say no.
This list of priorities may set the course for new holiday traditions, as well.
Maybe you will donate toys, books, and food to charities. Maybe you will help
serve dinner at a homeless shelter in lieu of a holiday meal.
2. Indulge the ghost of Christmas Past. What memories immediately come forth
that evoke a fond nostalgia? For me, it is not the gifts or the shopping or even
the parties. It is rocking my infant, alone, by candlelight, to "Silent Night."
It is letting my 2 year old crack the eggs for the cookies, and seeing the pride
on her floury face.
Decide what the holidays really mean to you. What is really important? Then make
a plan to weave more of those activities into your holidays, and reduce the
3. Deck the Halls with Light and Love. Do not let commercialism spoil your fun.
Make the simple promise to yourself that, this year, you will actually enjoy
your holiday shopping. Brainstorm ways you can make this happen. For me, the
mall is a giant energy drain. The look of worried resignation as a shopper hands
over her credit card tells me that she is shopping out of a sense of obligation
and not one of joy. And it sours my holiday spirit.
Instead, I carve out an afternoon all to myself. I put on an Andrea Bocelli CD,
sip Chai tea from a giant mug, and curl up with a fleece blanket to surf the
Internet and page through catalogs. That is how I find just the right something
for everyone on my list. When it ceases to be fun, I stop. I so enjoy shopping
this way that, throughout the year, I bookmark sites that offer just the right
If you find the materialism of the season draining your energy, commit to making
an attitude shift. If you want things to be different this year, only you can
make it so. Take the lead for your family, and live in such a way that you prove
less stuff really does equal more fun.
Maybe you will take the money you usually spend on one too many toys and enjoy,
instead, a weekend family getaway. Maybe you will make homemade goodies, such as
picture frames, home movies, or goodie baskets, which the whole family helps to
Maybe you will bag the traditional gift giving and start a new tradition. In our
family, it goes like this: Each guest brings a wrapped gift of roughly the same
dollar value. We sit in a circle and each person, in turn, has the option of
taking a gift that is already been opened or opening a new one. It is fun,
festive, it gets everyone moving and talking, and it switches the focus to the
relationships and the event...not the gifts.
4. Start early, plan well, and take care of yourself. Here are some tips:
Simplify as much as possible. Use paper plates. Eat out. If a holiday tradition
is old and tired, reinvigorate it or start a new tradition of staying at home.
Plan ahead. To help, chances are, your favorite food website has a checklist for
big holiday events.
Replenish your natural energy by taking care of your body. Eat right. Exercise
(in the crisp outdoors once in a while). Drink plenty of water. Sleep.
Energize your image. Give yourself an early holiday gift or a great haircut, a
brow shaping, a pedicure with bright red polish, or a free makeover at your
favorite cosmetics counter and a purchase of the most vibrant lipstick shade you
will actually wear.
Decorate with items of comfort and joy. Display photographs from past holiday
celebrations. Keep in full view reminders that you take care of yourself...fresh
flowers, indulgent hand cream, inspiring music, and energizing scents, such as
citrus or peppermint.
Spend the season with your most energetic friends. Instead of letting the
Scrooges in your life yank you down, send them something sweet from a Secret
Santa. A little anonymous enchantment may be just what they need.
Keep a "Joy Journal" this holiday season, in which you record the funny things
your kids say, joyful times you share, your favorite things to do with your
family (and by yourself), and all the things for which you are grateful. Use
your Joy Journal as a reminder of the facets of your life (and this holiday
season )that are really important.
Susie Cortright is the founder of Momscape.com -
http://www.momscape.com and Susies-Coupons.com,
where she hand picks only the very best online coupons, including sites that
offer free gifts with purchase: