Week 49: 7 Strategies for Less Stress, More Meaning this Holiday Season!
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This Week's Topic: 7 Strategies for Less Stress, More Meaning this Holiday Season!
With Christmas less than three weeks away, many people are feeling stressed by the expectations, shopping and obligations that come with the holiday season. While it's important to give of yourself, it's equally important to engage in some extra "self-care" during the holiday season. A variety of issues cause stress during the holidays, including overspending, social obligations (parties, decorating, cooking, hosting), gift buying, travel, and family. Depression is the source of stress for many, particularly those who are alone during the holidays, and those dealing with the death or illness of loved one, or a recent divorce or separation from family and friends.
I'd like to share a few strategies for dealing with stress this holiday season:
1. DECIDE WHAT WORKS FOR YOU
Decide what is most important to YOU this holiday season. Then center your holiday around it. Just because your friends' idea of Christmas is elaborate gift giving and 10 parties in three weeks, doesn't mean you have to do the same. Do what works for you.
2. ASK FOR HELP
If you are the person responsible for Christmas dinner or hosting family gatherings, don't try to do everything yourself. Make it a true family affair and ask for help.
3. PLAN A BUDGET
If you haven't finished shopping, take time to plan your gift budget and stick to it. Don't feel pressured to spend money you don't have. If you do, you'll have a bad financial hangover in January. It's OK to tell people you are cutting back this year ... they may even be relieved to hear you say it because it will take the pressure off of them, too!
4. PLAN YOUR GIFTS
Shop with a purpose! Don't go to the mall looking for whatever jumps out at you. Give it some thought ahead of time. This saves time and the gifts tend to be more thoughtful.
5. REMEMBER THE "REASON FOR THE SEASON"
Remember that Christmas is a religious holiday by not allowing commercial expectations to take over. Since Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ, take time to incorporate a spiritual tradition into your holiday celebrations such as Christmas Eve or Christmas day church service. Some of my favorite childhood holiday memories are going to church at midnight on Christmas Eve and searching the sky for Santa and his reindeer during the ride home. :)
6. APPRECIATE YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Many people are stressed by the prospect of spending time with their families. Rather than focusing on what you dislike or disapprove of about some of your loved ones, take time to appreciate them and the fact that you are blessed to spend another holiday season with your family. Make a decision to appreciate the people who are present in your life.
7. CREATE NEW TRADITIONS
If your family has changed because of death, divorce or other circumstances, take the opportunity to create new traditions that will make the holidays special. As an example, for decades, the home of my maternal grandmother, "Mama Pearl," was the meeting point for our family gathering and gift exchange on Christmas Day. When she died in 1992, so did that longstanding and wonderful tradition. But now we have a new tradition where the family gets together during the holidays, exchanges gifts, sings Christmas carols, and shares lots of love. It took an adjustment, but the most important goal was accomplished in this new tradition: celebrating love for one another at Christmas.
My challenge to you: Take Action!
This month, stay focused on what's most important and you'll find that stress will be furthest thing from your mind.
What causes you the most stress during the holidays? What could you do to alleviate it or reduce its impact on you
Until next time ...
P.S. Encourage your friends and family by sharing this newsletter and invite others to subscribe! Just send them to www.valorieburton.com, where they can enter their email address on the home page.
Valorie Burton, a life coach and speaker, is the author of Listen to Your Life, Rich Minds, Rich Rewards, What's Really Holding You Back?, Why Not You? and her latest, How Did I Get So Busy? The 28-Day Plan to Free Your Time, Reclaim Your Schedule and Reconnect with What Matters Most. Subscribe to her FREE, inspirational e-newsletter at www.valorieburton.com.
Please feel free to forward the Rich Minds, Rich Rewards E-Newsletter to friends and colleagues, but please forward in its entirety. The Rich Minds, Rich Rewards E-Newsletter is written and distributed by Inspire, Inc. Copyright (c) 2008 Valorie Burton. All rights reserved. www.valorieburton.com.