Holiday Stress is Coming to Town


Holiday Stress is Coming to Town ♫♪
By Chris Hammond

Do you find yourself making a list and checking it twice?  Isn’t that Santa’s job?  With so much to do in such a short time it is easy to double book parties, forget the vanilla extract yet again, lose the address of your favorite client, and spend too much money all before noon today.  The Holidays are here and so is the added stress of more stuff, more money, more places to be, more people to see, and more pounds to gain.  But it doesn’t have to be this way.  Instead of making just another “to do” list, make yourself a different type of list establishing your limitations well in advance.  You can call it your Naughty List (what not to do) and Nice List (what to do).

Naughty List.

1.       Overspending your budget just because…

2.       Being unrealistic about the amount of time an activity will take or a visit with family will last.

3.       Failing to communicate your plans with others so they can plan accordingly.

4.       Trying out a recipe out for the first time to bring to your office party.  The expectation that everything will go perfectly and it will taste fantastic is unrealistic.  Instead bring a dish that you already know works.

5.       Increasing your project load at home when you have less free time to complete it.  If you want to make new decorations, make them after the season for next year rather than now when time is already short.

6.       Overdoing the decorations, enough said.

7.       Overbuying for you.  That red sweater you wore last year is still good and you really don’t need a new one.

8.       Being a Scrooge.  Just because money is short doesn’t mean that you have to announce it to the world and remind everyone about your struggles.

9.       Calories unfortunately do count during the Holidays.  That piece of fudge is still the same amount of calories during the Holidays as it is in the summer.

10.   Feeling guilty.  No one can make you feel guilty unless you let them so except your limitations and set better boundaries.

11.   Minimizing the impact of a major life change over the past year.  Any major life change such as a death, divorce, marriage, birth of a child or move significantly changes the way the Holidays will be spent.  If you have had a change over the past year, acknowledge it and plan for the Holidays to reflect the change.

12.   Setting unreasonable expectations for yourself, your spouse, and your family. 

Nice List.

1.       Take time out for yourself and rest during the Holidays.  Plan one day to be free from all commitments and enjoy the season.

2.       Reconnect with an old friend.

3.       Extend the free gift of forgiveness to someone in your life.

4.       Revisit the true meaning of the Holidays instead of the commercial meaning.

5.       Give a plant, some food, some time, or some expertise instead of another useless gift.  These gifts are far more valuable.

6.       Create a new tradition.  Instead of all the running around, plan to spend one day with just immediate family and stay in your P.J.’s all day watching old movies and playing games.

7.       Give the gift of humor and learn to laugh at yourself.  This is a great stress reliever.

8.       Before you go to a party set limits on the amount you will eat and drink.  Be reasonable, realistic, and practical about your temptations.

9.       Technology can be a wonderful thing.  Skype a family member that you can’t visit because of the distance.

10.   The older members of your family are likely to feel lonely during the Holidays so plan on extra time with them and patiently listen to them reliving the past.  This is a free gift that will mean far more than a material gift.

11.   Reach outside of your world and touch the lives of those less fortunate than you by volunteering to deliver meals, giving your lunch to the homeless person on the side of the road, providing a bike for a kid in need, or donating clothing that is unused.

12.   Pray.  Pray for your family, pray for your friends, pray for neighbors, pray for your co-workers, pray for your country, pray for those serving in the military, pray for those being persecuted, pray for those who are starving, pray for those who are dying, and most especially pray for those causing harm to others.  Prayer works.  Prayer lasts a long time.  Prayer creates peace.

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