The holidays can be a stressful time of year for everyone. Some people are stressed out from the sheer volume of things that need to be done, such as shopping, baking, and decorating. For others, events with their family can cause great stress. Regardless of what creates stress for you, take some time for yourself to relax, rejuvenate, and rest so you can enjoy a peaceful and joyous holiday season.
If you’re worried about having too much to do and not enough time to get it done, sit down and make out a Christmas to-do list. Include your spouse and children in the holiday planning process, and try to delegate chores to everyone to help make things simpler and free up your time. Even the youngest of children can do a lot to help mommy and daddy for the holidays including picking up their room and behaving. Older children and teenagers are able to do quite a bit more. If you have a teenager of driving age in your household, take advantage and have him or her make deliveries, mail Christmas cards, or run errands for you.
Be realistic in your planning. If you know it generally takes you most of the day to do your Christmas decorating, don’t try to cram it all into a morning or afternoon session. And most importantly, don’t over schedule yourself and try to do too much in one day. Schedule in time to read a book, take a hot bath, or get to bed early.
You might also want to consider hiring professional help during the holidays. If you know you’re having company but you just won’t have the time yourself to do your housecleaning, hire a cleaning service to come in and help you. Consider it an early Christmas present to yourself. Even if you just have the service do the big jobs and you do the smaller stuff later, you’ll have saved time and effort in the process.
If spending time with members of your extended family creates stress for you, consider bowing out of the festivities. After all, the holidays are supposed to be peaceful and joyous. It’s highly likely that if you’re family is in turmoil the rest of the year that will be the case during the holidays as well. Try to make alternate plans with members of your support system such as friends or other family. If you must attend, rely on this strong support system to get you through, and if things become tense, call it a night and come home early. There’s no need to tolerate an intolerable situation that will cause your stress levels to skyrocket. As an alternative plan, consider donating your time to a local soup kitchen, homeless shelter or nursing home, all who would appreciate a helping hand and a supportive ear during the holidays.
Most importantly, listen to your body. If you begin feeling the signs of stress such as headaches and body aches, anxiety and sleeplessness, that’s your cue to slow down and take things easier. Cut back on activities, ask for help with projects or chores, and take some time out for some deep breathing exercises and walking.
If you take care of yourself, you’ll be able to take care of the things on your list, your family and your holiday season as well.