With Christmas only a week away and looming around the corner, I thought that this article by Karen Susman was very timely and appropriate. Enjoy!!
by Karen Susman
The number one cause of holiday stress is expectations. Recently, when a woman commented that she was overwhelmed with all the shopping for relatives she had to do, a friend suggested she send gift certificate cards. The strung out friend said her family would kill her (her words) if she didn’t put lots of thought, time and money into shopping and shipping. Now, that’s the spirit.
We buy into media messages that tell us we should have gloriously decorated homes, homemade cookies stacked to the ceiling, expensive gifts already wrapped and shipped, holiday cards with lengthy handwritten notes mailed by December 1, memorable office parties, a calendar full of social events and family members that just love to fly or drive long distances to spend intense quality time together.
Forgedaboudit! Get a grip on holiday expectations and resultant stress.
1. Shop online. Send major credit card gift certificates that can be used anywhere. Look for kiosks of gift cards from a slew of stores at your grocery.
2. Send New Year’s cards instead of Christmas cards.
3. Underschedule, underpromise, undereat. Go to holiday open houses late and leave early. Less is less when it comes to holiday stress.
4. Underdrink, too.
5. Emphasize the true meaning of the holidays by involving your family in creative, charitable and spiritual activities.
6. Eat healthfully and take time to exercise. If you bring a vegetable tray to the party, you’ll always have something healthy to eat. Plus, everyone else will be grateful to you. No time to go to the gym? Break your exercise routine into ten-minute chunks.
7. Invest in hotel rooms for visiting relatives. Look for specials this time of year. Your guests will like not having to share a bathroom or having Fido awaken them with doggy kisses. You’ll have more quiet, time and space.
8. If you have a holiday party, make it a potluck.
9. Give up controlling the outcome of events.
10. Nap. Lock yourself in the bathroom and take a bath.
11. Get help from your family and friends.
12. Anticipate problems and delays. Plan buffer time into your schedule.
13. Don’t complain from now until January 1. That’s a bigger challenge than finding the gift for someone who has everything.
14. Call someone you haven’t talked to in a long while. Catch up. Make definite plans to get together in 2008.
15. Plan something fun in January. I just signed up for a one-day snowshoe trip on January 9.
16. Smile. What a gift you give to people when you flash your pearly whites.
There is no one right way to celebrate the holidays. Start a new tradition by slowing down, simplifying and focusing on what you want your family to remember about the holidays. And, if you are alone at this time of year, those Norman Rockwell expectations can tear your heart up. Call your friends invite yourself to someone’s home, volunteer at a soup kitchen and then crawl into your warm bed thankful for your bounty.
Karen Susman, Speaker/Author/Coach, works with organizations and individuals that want to maximize their performance and quality of life. Check out her free tips and articles at www.karensusman.com. Karen can be reached at 1-888-678-8818 or [email protected].