You Can Choose Your Holiday Stress Levels
Stress or No Stress – YOU DECIDE
As soon as the pages of the calendar hit November, there was an onslaught of articles on “Handling Stress During the Holidays”. Most of the suggestions come from counselors, religious leaders who were advocating for a more spirituality rather than “more shopping”, yoga teachers, life coaches, etc.
Everyone seems to have some good advice: “cut your gift list”, “cut your cookie list”, “cut your social calendar”, “cut your indoor, outdoor decorating” – what we observe as an overabundance of all those tasks, baking, decorating, shopping, entertaining, being entertained. All the rushing to and fro, creates stress and dilutes what should be a joyful time, a time when seeing friends, enjoying the songs and the sights of the season should bring us peace, not stress.
To cut back on everything, taking time to smell the poinsettia is good advice, but my observation has been that most people don’t cut back. Each year they say, “next year, I am doing things differently. I am not doing all this baking, decorating, shopping,”. The next year comes and everyone continues with what they have always done: experiencing the stress of all that must get done for it to be a “perfect holiday”.
So, what advice am I giving? – just as you note in the articles and listen to the talk show gurus expound on cutting holiday stress.
Decide To Lessen Your Stress – YOU CAN DO IT!
You are in control of your holiday. Make your own personal decision to:
1. Bake one less batch of cookies,
2. Check your gift list, bet you could get by with fewer gifts.
3. Don’t try to make every social event. Prioritize.
4. Make at least one holiday concert with all your family.
5. Do you really need all those lighted reindeer in the front yard- a Christmas tree in every room?
Remember the season isn’t the cause of your stress, but, rather, how you choose to observe it.
About the Author: Patricia Bubash, M.Ed. is a Licensed Professional Counselor, and a Stephen Minister in St.Louis, Mo. For over thirty years she worked in an educational setting, counseling students, parents, and, often times, colleagues. She is the author of Successful Second Marriages. Her time is now spent, writing, volunteering, and traveling.