The holiday season is upon us and many are feeling the crunch. Traffic is terrible, the malls are a mess, people are irritable, and you are doing your best to survive with a smile on your face.
Stress greatly escalates during the weeks from Thanksgiving to New Years where the pressure is on for great magic, memories, and the perfect gift(s) when you really just want to hole up and ‘bah-humbug’ the whole thing.
On January 2nd of every year you look back and think, “This next year will be different. This next year I will be organized ahead of time.” But then it’s a repeat of the last year and you are left stressed out.
Take heart. Everyone is feeling the way you do ... fake smile or not. Use these tips to survive the rest of the season without hurting anyone, including you!
1. First of all, acknowledge you are only human. Things are going to fall through the cracks, gifts are not going to be perfect, and the cookies might be slightly burnt. Shrug your shoulders and laugh. The laughter will reduce your stress hormone cortisol and make you feel so much better.
2. Second, start making lists if you haven’t already. When people have too much on their mind and are stressed out they start to short-circuit their short term memory. You are not developing early Alzheimer's, 'tis the season of chaos and your brain isn’t ready.
Make a list for everyone in your family, your to-do’s, presents to buy, parties to attend, etc., and then cross them off as you go. Take one step at a time and divvy out responsibilities to those around you. If you write it down it will free up your brain to move on to other things.
3. Third, remember YOU in this holiday season. If you put a lot of pressure on yourself to get everything done for everyone else, take a few minutes every day to close your door and find your happy place. Whether that is a cat nap, reading, knitting, exercise, cruising the computer, or sipping your coffee in silence -- use this time to decompress and recharge your body.
4. Fourth, realize it’s the season for sugar.