What's the best way to reduce seasonal stress?
With the arrival of the holidays, many of us experience an odd mixture of excitement and dread as we prepare to celebrate the season.
We get excited about the lights, shopping and Christmas dinner with family, but we also fear the stress that past holidays have taught us to expect. From previous family misunderstandings and hurt feelings to scheduling conflicts, tight finances and the wear and tear on the body, holidays have a way of taking their toll on us.
I have found that the best way to lessen the stress of the holidays is to be prepared:
- Recognize stress triggers ahead of time, and plan to minimize their impact. For example: Realize that you will get several invitations to holiday parties, events or service opportunities, and limit the number of events you will commit to before the invitations come.
- Create a holiday budget together. Commit to sticking to the budget no matter how great the sales are!
- Try to resolve extended family issues before holiday gatherings, if possible. Sit down and discuss the problems rather than ignore them.
- Commit to dealing with spousal conflict after the emotion has died down: "Honey, we are both tired. Let's not try to solve this now. Let's talk in the morning over coffee." Use common sense, and be disciplined enough to handle conflict in the right way.
- Schedule time for each other: Go to bed at a decent hour. Exercise or take a walk together. Protect your "together" time.