Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! With the holidays in full swing and it being Christmas Eve I wanted to post this blog with an article from our latest contributor Yvette Sechrist McGlasson.
Remember You are the Present: Managing Holiday Stress
For many of us, the holidays mean tradition. A season of endless parties, friends and family gathering to enjoy tables laden with food and the excuse that this year, we will honor our resolutions. With all the celebration, we somehow find unwelcome guests at the door and this year with COVID-19, it adds a whole new dimension. Our perception of not being "enough" ushers in worries and fears that keep us engaged with "future stress," things that may never even happen and they keep us from being present. It's like driving to a restaurant and not remembering how you got there. What was to be a "merry and bright" season, has now become one with an incredible amount of pressure to perform. It's that combination of pressure that results in stress, worry, anxiety and possibly even depression.
Think of a typical holiday movie. Home Alone where they are in a rush to leave, the kid was left behind. The Family Stone featuring a conservative girlfriend brought home to meet a liberal family. If you've ever felt like an outsider, even at your own dinner table, this movie is for you. Christmas Vacation, a mixed bag of everything dysfunctional, sprinkled with failed expectations, wrapped up in a card that reads perfection!
Here are some tips to put the joy back into the season!
- Take care of yourself. That means putting YOU at the top of your "to do" list. Give yourself 15-30 minutes of "me time" daily.
- Honor your feelings. Do not sweep them under the carpet. Suppressed feelings build like a volcano until one day the smallest thing causes and explosion. Cry, scream, give yourself a time out...but feel!
- Embrace imperfection. Set realistic expectations. Cookies burn, fine. Ornaments break, replace them. Do your best and let everything else go.
- Repeat after me, "No, thank you." We have this idea that we have to "do it all, be it all, solve it all, buy it all, wrap it all." We don't. We are not required to attend every party we are invited to. This leads me to...
- Delegate. I like to call it sharing, as in sharing the load. Ask for help. Make the meal a pot luck where everyone uses their own recipe.
- Manage Family & Friends. This is actually more about managing how you are with them. You can't change someone's behavior you can only change how you are with it. If you get embarrassed when Uncle Joe gets obnoxious after he's had to many eggnogs, instead of completely avoiding him, catch up with him pre-eggnog.
- Stick to your budget. You will thank yourself when the January bills come due. Consider quality over quantity. I've always loved Maya Angelou's quote. "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
- Follow the 80/20 Rule. Eat until you are 80% full. Your waistline will thank you.
- Have fun! Do something silly. Laughter releases happy endorphins!
- Give Back. There is nothing better than doing for those in need. Back in the day, I loved per-paying someone's toll when driving across the Alley. Doing for a stranger can open your heart to receiving a wealth of gratitude.