Holiday Stress

Who hasn't experienced holiday stress?

Most people, if asked, will generally tell you that holidays are a stressful time at some stage each year. But we also hold memories of great family gatherings, wonderful food, gifts, and togetherness when we think of holidays in years gone by.

What then, makes holiday time stressful?

I believe it’s because we spend a lot of time DOING and only a little time BEING.

The “being” part of the holidays usually happens when we are sitting around a fire, sipping a drink, chatting with family or friends, and generally just hanging out and “being” together. The “doing” part involves all the lead up to the holidays – shopping for gifts, preparing food, welcoming visitors and so on.

So the key is to maximize the “being” and minimize the “doing”.

This will require both management and awareness if you want to pull it off. First become aware of all the “doing” things around holiday time that create stress for you. Make a list. Then take each item in turn and decide how you can make each item less stressful. How can you minimize the “doing” for each item?

Here is an example. Last year our family gave up the idea of everyone buying gifts for everyone else in an effort to reduce holiday stress. Instead we ALL buy a just one gift for each person. One person is assigned the task of gathering information from others on a particular family member and then going and purchasing just one gift for that person with all other family members contributing. We were surprised to find that some wonderful things happened from using this gift giving strategy.

Firstly, a lot of thought went into each gift. In fact the whole family spent time “being” with each other in our thoughts, as opposed to each of us racing around numerous stores spending many frustrating hours trying to decide what to buy for each person. The plan also gave us more time to focus on other aspects of the holidays. Two family members were assigned the task of creating a ritual to precede the gift giving. More focus was placed on the part of the holidays that involved our “being” together and less on all the doing beforehand.

Now, don’t think you have to follow our lead here and do the same in your family unless it is something you feel fits for you and yours. We each need to arrive out our very own solutions for maximizing the “being” minimizing the “doing” and reducing as much holiday stress as we can. What do you think you could do that would work for you and your family?

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