It’s just a hunch, but we’re guessing the person/persons responsible for creating National Stress-Free Family Holidays Month (December) didn’t actually have one. How can holidays with family not be stressful even in the best of times, let alone during COVID?
We digress. If December is calendared to honor a stress-free holiday, then we’ll hop on board. But when it comes to family members and loved ones, it’s important to approach this concept with an acceptance of what can and cannot be controlled. It is often said that life isn’t about what happens to us but how we react to what happens. And to that point, reducing life’s stressors begins with you, as an individual. Here are some easy tips to keep your family holiday’s stress level to a low roar:
- Self-care – rather than focusing on others’ actions and behaviors, focus on your own. Stick with what you already know works to improve your mood and reduce anxiety: exercising, spending time outdoors, eating healthfully, watching your alcohol or other substance intake, journaling, hugging your dog, calling a friend. When you’re in a good place mentally, physically and emotionally, it will help you better handle family members’ crazy-making antics (you know, the whining children, passive-aggressive in-laws, and questions such as where-IS-my-spouse-while-all-of-this-is-happening?)
- Say NO – it’s a complete sentence. Also, review your social calendar and do a deep dive on what can be reasonably eliminated without anyone setting themselves on fire, suffering negligence or terminating your employment with them.
- Set realistic expectations – it’s been a stressful year and there will be some glitches. But what is your end game? A “perfect” Martha Stewart-style holiday or one that you and your kids will remember for many years to come with a smile in your heart?
Best wishes for the happiest of holidays from Insights.