Stress. We feel it. Sometimes we even need it. But can we beat holiday blues and stress to enjoy this season more? Or maybe you just prefer a "Bah, humbug" approach to the holidays? What is the source of all that extra stress anyway?
Holiday stress is anywhere you find it – in the broken heirloom tree ornaments or china, lumpy gravy, difficult relatives, not enough help with preparations, frustration with seasonal commercialization, tightly budgeted presents that may disappoint, multiple conflicting family invitations, reminders of our loneliness or disconnection, and the special loved ones not present to celebrate with us. We can also feel stressed without identifying a cause.
The key is to fully own our stress. Through that embrace, while we cannot control external stressors or avoid stressful thoughts, we can turn our stress thoughts into our best thoughts.
Here are some ideas:
- Place that ornament or plate broken into a million pieces on the floor into a zippered plastic bag. Retell the story of its origin and specialness for years.
- Donate to charities and homeless shelters in place of gifts to friends and families. Volunteer your time for a worthy cause.
- Form a volunteer committee and delegate preparation chores for the family get-together.
- Surprise that "difficult" relative with a special and unexpected mystery present this year. Or just give them the space they need to be difficult, without getting yourself involved, so you can breathe easy for a change.
- Create playful traditions around good gravy/bad gravy tales for the young to retell for generations.
- Honor the dear departed relatives or the family soldier overseas through sharing wonderful best memories of that person in storytelling rituals.
- Translate holiday stress and blues into a time of connection and renewed communication. Email, text, and free long distance calling certainly make it more doable.
Turn your holiday stress inside-out this year. You will find a nugget of golden opportunities for warmth and connection.