Holiday Stress Prevention
Since I receive a lot of great feedback each year when I re-post this blog on how to prevent holiday stress, I thought I’d make it an annual tradition to share this letter that I wrote to myself back in 2012. This year most especially, I need to heed my own advice. After losing my mom back in August, a part of me wants to decorate the heck out of everything in order to keep myself occupied so that I don’t think about the fact that I no longer have a mom to pick up the phone and call. But deep down, I know that if I stay super busy in order to hide from my feelings, I’ll just end up running myself into the ground and getting sick. So, no all-out decorating this year. Instead, my focus will be on spending quality fun time with my family during the holidays.
If you want to learn how to prevent holiday stress, read on….
January 3, 2012
I’m writing this letter to you to serve as a reminder for next year’s holiday season.
As a recovering perfectionist, that dark side in you – like many people out there – often worries about getting everything just right. You usually do a good job of fighting it off, but sometimes it creeps up and bites you in the rear. So let’s review what didn’t happen the way it was supposed to.
Every Thanksgiving weekend, you put up the tree and hang the outdoor lights. This year, it didn’t happen because you were just plain tuckered out from all of your book-related events and celebrations, so you didn’t feel like doing it. For the next two Saturdays after that, the weather was cold and rainy, so you didn’t hang the outdoor lights. Only the three lighted angels were set out.
And did the world end because you put out fewer decorations? No. In fact, not a single person who came over commented on the missing outdoor lights. “They were just being polite,” you say? No, they weren’t. They’re not shy about making comments, and they would’ve said something if it mattered.
For the pre-Christmas Eve gathering you hosted for thirty people, you didn’t make a huge spread of homemade dishes as originally planned. About half the food came ready-made from the store. Did people thumb their noses at this? Judging from the empty serving bowls, nobody took issue.
You went to your parents’ house for Christmas. They didn’t put up a tree. But you didn’t notice until your dad pointed out that fact. No one else who came to the house for the aforementioned gathering noticed either. Did the holiday season come to a grinding halt because one of the most common symbols of the season (non-religious, anyway) was missing? Nope.
So what’s the point of all this? Simple.
How can you prevent holiday stress?
Don’t fall into the trap of holiday stress outs. They are self-imposed. Do what you can and forget about the rest. What matters is that you spend the time with people you love and count your blessings. You did a great job just going with the flow this year, but in case you start backsliding into the holiday frenzy next year, I want you to remember that you managed just fine without it.
Now go set a calendar reminder for next Thanksgiving weekend to read this. Don’t worry. Be happy.
Wishing you love, peace and happiness,
How to prevent holiday stress?
Bonus: Here are some holiday stress prevention tips for small businesses.