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A Stress-Free Holiday Season

For many, the holidays start off bright and quickly give way to the stresses of trying to manage to do too much.  Pressure to find the perfect gifts, plan holiday events, and prepare meals can leave even the most festive person feeling tense.  Fortunately, even amidst the chaos; it is quite possible to have a stress free holiday season when you put your mind to it.

The first step is to take a breath and refocus on what truly matters.  Our culture tends to bombard us with advertisements and commercialism, but what most people truly adore about this time of year is the deeper meaning.  Friends, family, and the celebration of renewal and the strong bonds that link humanity together are what really make this season so magical, not the trinkets, food and hype.

When you feel the true message slipping away, take a few minutes to sit and consciously focus on what the season means.  Give thanks for the love of those around you.  These moments of reflection are usually all that’s needed to get back in the spirit again.

Know your limitations, plan ahead and don’t be afraid to ask others to pitch in.  A well-organized holiday is a less chaotic experience for everyone involved.  Plan your meals, gifts and schedule in advance.  Purchase food and gifts early to ensure you are able to get what you need and avoid the last minute rush. Consider online purchases for gifts as well.  If you order early enough it can save a lot of hassles going store to store.

If you are in charge of preparing large meals; make it a family affair and delegate tasks to different family members.  Younger children can help load the dishwasher or set the table.  Older children can help with the actual preparation of the meal.  When meal time is family time, everyone can relax more and make it fun.

Also, during this season of giving, ensure you are taking time to give back to yourself. Burning the candle at both ends for too long leads to burnout and frustration. You want to enjoy the holidays also and you can’t do that if you are running on empty.  Resist the temptation to try to do everything for everyone and take time to recharge.  Instead of tackling yet another holiday party or social engagement, take a quiet night to watch movies or play games with the family.

If the rampant commercialism of the holidays makes you a little blue; push back and use your creativity.  When you choose to create handmade gifts you are putting a bit of yourself into that item. Nothing is more precious than the love that is poured into a gift from the heart.  Personal expression is healing to both self and others.  Great ideas include artwork, crafts and even homemade food items.

Holidays can certainly be stressful, but they don’t have to be.  With a bit of good planning and regular time to refocus; you can rest assured your holiday will be as stress-free and rewarding as possible.