The stress of upcoming holidays can overshadow the joy of spending time with family, exchanging gifts, nibbling on holiday goodies and relaxing with friends. No one wants to be too frazzled to enjoy what the holidays are all about. Here are some tips for memorable holidays.
- 1. Sit down with your family and talk about the meaning of the holiday.
- Have each person think about the most essential things about the holiday to him/her. What would really be missed if you didn’t do it together as a family? What can you do for others who may find it difficult to have a happy holiday? Not only will this be helpful to others, but it will also be a big boost to your health and happiness.
- What will each person do to help get ready for the holiday? Make a list of who will do what when.
- 2. Whittle down the plans until you feel confident you can accomplish them. This will give you a sense of “being in control” (one of the key characteristics of good stress managers) — rather than feeling overwhelmed (which is a major stress generator).
- One of the biggest sources of stress is unrealistic expectations – trying to accomplish more than is reasonable – and trying to have everything perfect. Some things may need to be postponed for the next holiday.
- Are there family rituals that need to be dropped or modified? Family rituals are very important to children, but they may need to evolve as families change.
- Stay within your budget. Feeling in control of your money (no matter how much you have) is a priceless feeling.
- 3. Eat healthy foods, exercise regularly and get enough sleep!
- Taking good care of yourself is one of the cornerstones of stress management, and it’s especially important at holiday time – for you and everyone else in the family (especially children).
- Your stress can splash over onto other family members – so it’s a kindness to everyone when you take good care of yourself.
- 4. Spend fun time together – and roll with the punches.
- Planning time together with your family may be the most important thing you can do for each other.
- The best laid plans of mice and people regularly go astray! Expect glitches and make the best of what comes your way. When things get too stressful, call a 10-minute time out. Get a cup of tea, run around the block or just relax with your feet up. You will come back to face any challenge with a refreshed mind and body.
Dr. Pat Tanner Nelson, Extension Family & Human Development Specialist