Tips for staying calm throughout the holiday season – and actually enjoy yourself

By: Dec 02, 2011
stress free holidays

There are ways you can have fun, take part in everything and actually breathe all the way to the finish line.

If you are anything like the majority of us, you probably meet the holiday season with a combination of elation and trepidation. While on the one hand the holidays bring most of us such joy and an opportunity to celebrate (either religiously, with friends and family or both), the rush from mid November until a few days into the New Year can leave many people anxious and breathless.

Of course the holiday season means family gatherings, office parties and holiday parties at the homes of your friends. If you attend a place of worship, there are certainly going to be gatherings there and if you have kids, well, your calendar just booked up solidly, didn’t it?

Perhaps in an effort to do things a little differently from years past, you are looking for ways to remain a little calmer and even enjoy yourself. Believing it’s possible, but has just been elusive to you, there are ways you can have fun, take part in everything and actually breathe all the way to the finish line.

Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew
A common expression that you probably heard a thousand times growing up, it can apply to everything from taking too large a bite of food than your teeth and stomach can handle to taking on more than you need to.  Particularly a trait associated with women, we tend to feel it’s our duty to volunteer for everything. The religious leader at your place of worships asks for someone to organize the Passover or Christmas events, you immediately raise your hand. But you forgot that you had already volunteered to organize the school recital that your daughter is performing in. And waiting for you at home is your husband who neglected to mention last week that he offered to host Christmas or Passover dinner this year. This on top of being part of the planning committee for your office holiday party and you have just learned first hand the art of stretching yourself too thin.

Taking on more than any one human can do not only causes anxiety, but it also means you can’t give fully of yourself to any one thing. Pick and choose which “thing” you can do and ask someone to do the others. Don’t be afraid to say what most of us women have a hard time with, “No, thank you.”

Opt Out of the Family Drama
Holidays are notorious for raised tempers and “he said, she saids.” Whether it’s your 7-year old twins or your 45-year old twin brothers, there is nothing like family drama around the holidays. Your kids need a referee, your siblings don’t. If they haven’t figured it out by now, it’s unlikely with or without your intervention they will.

Ask for Help
Difficult though it may be for us ladies, you aren’t superwoman! If you are unable to get out of hosting the family dinner, ask for help from your siblings and cousins. There is no reason all the burden should fall on your shoulders. Citing the aged-old excuse that your mom used to do it all, ask yourself, did she work full time and raise a family? If she did, she truly was a phenomenal woman. It doesn’t mean you have to compete.

Think Before You Act
Before you volunteer, before you offer to mediate, before you offer to host, stop and think about your calendar, your family’s commitments and your stress level. Don’t allow this holiday season to be like the ones of past years. Meet the holiday with the joy it deserves and the only way to do this is also meet it with the realism it requires.