This time of year has always been one of my favorites. I enjoy turning on the fireplace, streaming holiday music and drinking hot chocolate while baking holiday treats. A blanket of snow creates a lovely new landscape for the morning commute. And, the emphasis on giving back during this season warms my heart. But, many times, the holiday to-do list can distract from all of my favorite things.
It turns out, I’m not alone. Nearly a quarter of Americans reported feeling “extreme stress” come holiday time, according to a poll by the American Psychological Association. Holiday stress statistics show that up to 69 percent of people are stressed by the feeling of having a “lack of time,” 69 percent are stressed by perceiving a “lack of money,” and 51 percent are stressed out about the “pressure to give or get gifts.”
Here are some tips for handling the holiday stress so you have more time to focus on your favorite things.
Prioritize. Get out that to-do list and highlight the most important things. Schedule those first, then fill in with the little things if there is time. Decide what is a must and the things you are willing to let go, if time does not allow. Be sure to include intentional time to relax and time for family.
Think Win-Win. Don’t make holiday gift giving a competition. The most sincere gift does not have to be the most expensive. A variety of homemade holiday gift ideas can be found at food.unl.edu. In addition, teach your kids not to play the comparison game. Remind them to be gracious and not worry about what others may have.
Listen. Make peace a holiday goal for your family. When everyone has time off from work or school and they are gathered together, it can be stressful. Make an extra effort to get along, be forgiving, and accept each other’s differences. Some conflict is normal, but try to resolve it, seek first to understand the other person, and be especially sensitive to others over the holidays.
Most importantly, take time to simply enjoy the holiday season. Remind yourself of your favorite things and let go of the rest.