Don't "Should" On Yourself: Practical Ways To Reduce Holiday Stress Share +
Posted by: coronadosafe 1 year, 10 months ago
Putting aside the fourth Thursday of November each year so that loved ones can come together and share thanks for their blessings is, I believe, one of America’s finest traditions. Having grown up in Australia I’ve long thought it was a real shame my convict ancestors never thought to put aside a day of thanks themselves.
Of course Thanksgiving, and the holiday season it kicks off, can be a very stressful time for many people. The Martha Stewart-like images of happy families dressed in the latest holiday fashion, sitting around decadently decorated tables and feasting joyously on gourmet delights create expectations that can never measure up to reality.
If you’re like many people I know, you probably get so busy working through your endless “To Do” lists that all your hectic doing slowly hijacks who you’re being. The result: instead of feeling gratitude for all that you have, you find yourself focused on all that's missing... whether it be someone else to host Thanksgiving dinner, relatives who don’t drive you crazy, time for shopping, or the resources to transform that glossy magazine cover into reality. The result: too much stress, too little gratitude.
Here are six ways to help you avoid some of the stress from holidays past, and create more space for truly savoring the reason for the season.
Schedule Regular ‘Breath-Stops’
- One way to short-circuit the impact of holiday pressures and the whirlwind of activity that surrounds it is to be intentional about pressing ‘pause’ whenever you that your way of being is not embodying a spirit of peace, gratitude and ‘goodwill for all.’ Schedule time in your calendar to stop what you’re doing, take a few deep breaths and ‘recalibrate’ your emotional barometer. Repeat as often as necessary (it may be necessary!)
Don’t "Should” On Yourself
- Deciding upfront to let go of the idea that your holiday will ever be postcard-perfect will free you up to enjoy it for all that it is, and for all that it isn’t! Drop all the “shoulds” and unrealistic expectations that create stress, conflict and resentment — “we should all get along,” “the table should be decorated Martha Stewart style,” “we should all have fun,” “everyone should come home for the holidays,” “we should all give thoughtful gifts..." and the list goes on... and on. It’s your attachment to how things should be that causes the bulk of your holiday stress and upsets. If you let go having to have things be a certain way, it allows you to enjoy things just as they are.
Create New Traditions
- Be careful that you aren’t being a slave to tradition. Sometimes traditions outgrow themselves. “That’s how we’ve always done it” doesn’t mean it still works given where you and your family are now. Just for this year try starting a new tradition and parting from an old one.
Think Outside the (Gift) Box
- The best presents are never the most expensive but the most thoughtful. Give someone a voucher for a massage, breakfast in bed or a night out at the movies and drinks afterward. And of course, spend wisely – you aren’t being generous spending money on others if you can’t afford it.
Express More Gratitude
- Like a sweet treat, expressing gratitude or just paying a compliment has a have a way of immediately lifting others’ spirits by bringing a smile to their face. Just think about who's day you brighten by taking a moment to appreciate today. Pick up the phone, send them a card, flick them an email… it takes only a little time in your day to give, but it can make a profound difference to the person you give it to. As research has shown, acts of kindness toward others benefit the giver every bit as much as the person on the receiving end.
Lighten Up & Have Some Fun!
- Having fun and being playful isn't just for kids. Yet too often we grown-ups get so caught up in the seriousness of life that we forget to have fun. Giving yourself permission to be playful, to act 'childish' and to engage in activities that make you smile is not only good for your health, but it can be totally cut through the relationship tensions that often build in the holiday season. Be courageous and get outside your comfort zone: hold silly contests like who has the most unfashionable holiday apparel. Offer to sing your favorite songs and carols for those around you (even if you have a terrible voice). Play your golden oldies CDs at breakfast… or in the office (everyone has to bring in their own). Keep your ideas simple and focused on involving everyone and having a fun time (even those people who drive you a bit nuts).
Whatever you do, or don't do, in the days and weeks ahead, just remember that for all that is wrong in the world, there is much more that is right.
That's something to be thankful for. And not just on the fourth Thursday in November.
Margie Warrell- Forbes Magazine. Read Orignal Article Here.
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