Holiday Survival Guide – 4

5.) Don’t Strive For “Perfection”

Nobody’s perfect. And nothing can BE perfect, so don’t expect that! Do what you can and be happy knowing that you did all you could to make it a wonderful holiday. Trying to create a “picture perfect” holiday gathering can really “sock it to you” in the stress department. Worrying about what you CANNOT do could lead to very problematic health issues. And you DON’T want that! The worst part of this is that it can all be avoided by thinking realistically about what CAN be done and not what you feel NEEDS to be accomplished. There is a significant difference between those two. Make a promise to yourself that you will only do what you can without placing too much pressure on yourself to get it all done. A good thing to keep in mind is that YOU HAVE NO CONTROL OVER ANYONE OTHER THAN YOURSELF. They will do what they do and that’s the end of it! If you believe in your heart that you can in essence “teach an old dog new tricks”, that is, to try and get a person that is set in their “ways” to behave differently for even 15 minutes, you are headed for heartache. Try not to let the actions of others within your circle of family or friends discourage you from having a great holiday season. People will be who they are and you should learn to let go of any personal expectations of how YOU want the holiday gatherings to be. It won’t do anything but add to your own stress levels.

6) Remember What Makes the Holiday Season Special for You And Maintain Focus

Always keep this thought in the back of your mind: “The Holidays Are A Time Of SHARING And TOGETHERNESS”. Understand that this sentence may have a different meaning for each family member or friend depending on events that have occurred in holidays past. The most common reason for this stress inducer is thinking and remembrance. If something pleasant has occurred for someone, that’s what they will tend to remember about the holiday seasons. If the person has experienced an incredible loss, then more than likely they will not be in a very celebratory mood. And you shouldn’t expect them to be. Take some time to think about what that person might be feeling before you try and bombard them with “good tidings”. But, don’t let this discourage you of having a happy holiday though. If you have wonderful memories of togetherness, then bring those memories forward in a way that makes you comfortable without putting others out. Never force your happiness onto someone that has suffered a devastating loss. Allowing each individual to have their own version of how they celebrate, or not celebrate, the holidays can really reduce your stress levels.

7) Do Some Realistic Planning

Never underestimate the value of a good plan! But, your plan needs to be one that is within your ability to complete. You should never set too many goals for yourself that you couldn’t possibly get done in the course of two weeks time. That is, if your pressed for time, as many of us are. Every year, many people wait until the very last minute to get everything done all at once. This is not a good idea. What happens? You know you have a big shopping list to take care of, so you dash out the door quick as you can, get into the car, speed off into the night to get it all finished up before the stores close. Guess what? There are probably a hundred other folks doing the exact same thing you are at that very moment! Now, not only do you have to deal with trying to get those things on your shopping list, you’re going to have to make your way through filled lanes of traffic, crowded stores, and lengthy check out waits. But, what if you spend all that time searching for a highly sought after item once you get to a specific shop, only to find that they are completely out of stock! Now you have to go try your luck at another location, or a completely different store altogether. You CAN avoid all this stress by creating a plan. Even if you only have 1 month left to finish your shopping, you could take an extra hour out of each day to pick up those items on your list before the mad holiday buying rush. The best way to have a good, “less stress” holiday plan is to start one right after the holidays are over! You can get great bargains through “after holiday” sales and take those items, cross them off your list, and put them up for safe-keeping until next year’s holiday. Plus, there’s NO RUSH to complete the tasks on your “to do” list since you have an entire year to get them done!

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