Are you looking forward to the holidays with a sense of joy and anticipation—or are you already worrying about trying to plan the "perfect" holiday events?
Trying to match or surpass a Christmas, Channukah or Kwanza you enjoyed as a child can lead to disappointment. Part of what made those events so wonderful was that you had no expectations! It was all surprising and delightful—and you probably didn't have to work very hard before, during and after.
As an adult, you may have responsibilities for planning and hosting, but even the best laid plans rarely go exactly as expected. You have a choice of stressing out over every detail—or doing your best to prepare and then relaxing and enjoying events as they unfold.
Here are a few tips for making the holidays less stressful:
- Make a realistic budget and stay within it. Taking on debt to buy expensive gifts isn't necessary. Look at how much you can afford to spend and limit yourself to that. Short on money? Think about drawing names to reduce the number of gifts that need to be bought. You might also ask family members to agree on dollar limit per gift this year that everyone will respect.
- Don't let perfect be the enemy of good. Your grandmother may have baked and iced every cookie by hand, but if you don't have time or don't enjoy home cooking, give yourself a break. Focus on bringing people together for a festive meal, not who cooks it.
- Shop from catalogs or online. Many online stores offer gift wrapping and free shipping that ensure gifts will arrive on time without you having to wait in line at the store or post office.
- Being present is more important than giving presents. Don't spend so much time and energy getting ready for the holidays that you're too exhausted to enjoy the events themselves.
- Spread the Joy. Helping ensure that people less fortunate than you are will have food and gifts for the holiday can be a heart-warming family activity that helps you enjoy your bounty even more.
More Information on Holiday Blues
At the VITAL WorkLife website, you'll find hundreds of helpful articles and links to resources, including the following articles on holiday stress and depression:
- Battling Holiday Depression and Stress
- Beat the Holiday Blues
- Clues to Conquer the Holiday Blues
- To find these articles, go to www.vitalworklife.com, click on member login and enter your user name and password.
- On the page that comes up, in the left hand column, click on the "Your Work & Life Resources" button.
- In the shaded area at the top of the screen, click on the pull down menu that says "Balancing" and pull down to "Mental Health."
- In the Categories box on the right side of the Communication page, click on "Depression," then click "View All" in the articles section.
Pathways to Well Being Call VITAL WorkLife at 800.383.1908