The holidays are a time for happiness, quality family time and relaxation, right? If only it would be that ideal. The stress levels shoot up in many people during the holiday season. There are so many decisions to make, things to do, people to see, and obligations to meet. The holiday ends up getting lost in all this haze. The holiday turns out to be a stressful sickly affair that leaves you more exhausted than ever.
Crying In the Bathroom one Christmas Morning:
Well, I decided to change this two years ago and I was determined to get make it through the season both happy and relaxed. This decision came after I had a total breakdown locked in my bathroom one Christmas morning. Anyone who knows me would attest, I am a bit of an overachiever when it comes to hosting, every Pinterest worthy recipe, tablescape and DIY gift idea I tend to master. This one Christmas, I attempted to do it all! Homemade gifts for all that for the most part the effort it took was not recognized, I bent and contorted myself to ensure each family member had their special tradition, wish, and favorite treat made to ensure everyone else’s needs around me were met.
This meant I spent the entire holiday in the kitchen, I was so busy dealing with others issues I missed my kids opening their gifts on Christmas morning and no one noticed nor appreciate the ridiculous Pinterest inspired Christmas Tree Centerpiece made out of fruit that took me hours! I slipped quietly into the washroom, closed the door and had a good long cry.
The mini breakdown was fueled by exhaustion and frustration and I was self-aware enough to recognize I had done most of it to myself. I made a drink… and left them all to eat the lavish holiday brunch I made, then I went to my hot tub where I worked on relaxing and letting go. Here I vowed this would be the last Christmas I ever felt like this again.
A stress-free holiday is possible by adopting simple basic tactics. Planning, delegating and managing expectation sums up the basic tactics to manage a holiday. Trust me, they sound simple but when you practice them the impact on your wellness throughout the season is huge.
How Not to Have a Damn Mental Breakdown this Season: 5 ways to achieve a Stress-Free Holiday
1) Changing traditions
Traditions have a powerful hold on many people. This means doing the same thing over and over when the holidays come. This may be as simple as going to the parents or as complicated as organizing a family cookout for both sides of the family. If there are more than two traditions to fulfill, why not pick one and go with it?
If there is a lot of resistance to doing away with other traditions, ask others to handle what they feel they want to be done. Delegation is a good way of keeping your workload easier and ensuring that everything is done simultaneously. The good thing is that when these activities come out well, everyone involved feels part of the effort. This is perfect for family bonding.
2) More free time
Making up a crowded to-do list is a common mistake during the holidays. Every day of the calendar is allocated for some activity or spent on the road. This is usually a recipe for disaster as holidaying feels like work. This is a season to kick out and relax. Schedule one or two days when there is nothing planned. This time can be spent in the house relaxing with the family or lazing by the fire pit swapping stories of the year.
3) More quality family time
What is the use for the holidays if the family is not together? Organize activities that involve the whole family. Making a fire is one of the favorites. This encourages the family to bond by the fireplace and make up for all the time everyone’s eyes were glued to the TV.
Charity work by everyone is also a good idea. The whole family can volunteer at your local food bank or soup kitchen to support those less fortunate. Make gift giving simple by having everyone dip into the hat and taking whatever name comes out, this saves you time shopping for numerous people and saves money.
Meal times during the holidays are a stressing time for the resident family cook. The family will usually want something special and surprising while the cook’s recipe list is limited. Fortunately, this is very easy to overcome. Opt out for easy dishes! This year I have created 6 Holiday Sides under 6 ingredients that are fabulous and uncomplicated to make. To make this more interesting, the family can have a cooking challenge with everyone trying out recipes from the net (again delegation goes a long way). Make meal times memorable by involving everyone in the preparations.
5) Have me time
The holidays are a time for reflecting over the past year, achievements and successes as an individual. It is also a time for planning ahead for the New Year. This can only be done in calm and quiet. After the harried year, you have a right to kick back and appreciate yourself.
Take time apart from everyone else. This does not have to be away from home. A simple, quiet afternoon in a relaxing bath with some Epson salts and your favorite essential oil can do the trick to promote relaxation. Take a book to the bath, play some music and have a good time pampering yourself. If you are so inclined, a glass of wine could be part of the setting.
So this season, try and incorporate these 5 tips. Downsize, simplify, and remember that no one is really going to appreciate the Pinterest Inspired Christmas Tree made out of fruit in a way that makes it worth the precious time it took you! Rather use that time for family time or self-care time for you to have a healthy and happy holiday season