Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Holiday Stress Tips

The holidays are here! And for many, this begins the most stressful time of the year. In years past, I've done the huge family Thanksgiving meal. This year, we're cooking mainly for just us and anyone who drops by and if no one comes by to eat, that's okay too. I've got plans for the extra ham and turkey to help with lunches and meals next week.. I've started baking bread today. In fact, it's in the oven rising right now. A little later, I'll make a chocolate pudding pie and bake a few cookies. My son brought home three half gallons of Blue Bell's Christmas Cookies ice cream. If you haven't tried it, don't. It is very addictive!!!

This year, I'm not stressed like I sometimes get. But a lot of people are half way there if not already totally stressed out. So here are some tips.

  • Get plenty of sleep. In our society (at least America it seems) everything is rush, rush, rush and there's not enough hours in the day. I'm very guilty of not getting enough sleep. I work full time and I write full time, as well as doing all the other stuff that has to be done.
  • Get plenty of exercise. I'm very guilty of not doing this.
  • Try to control your eating. Yeah, I know. Difficult this time of year. I've already found the Christmas Cookies ice cream. And it's gooood!
  • Don't worry about the stuff you can't control. Okay, all the control freaks, no buts! Just take a deep breath and say "I can't control everything. I can't control everything." This will drive you crazy if you try to control everything.
  • Keep a positive attitude. It's so easy to let the negative thoughts creep in. But don't. It just increases your stress if you do.
  • Don't do everything yourself. Get others to help you. And if something doesn't get done, don't worry about it.
  • Slow down. Take a deep breath and get a cup of coffee (or whatever your favorite drink is) and sit down.
  • Learn to say "NO!" This is often very difficult with friends and especially with family. This year, we're having to say no to a lot of people. I'm still paying off last year's Christmas for a family member who said they needed help and would pay us back. I honestly don't know if they don't realize the financial burden they've put on us, or if they just don't care. This year, the "in" word is NO.
  • Have realistic expectations. There's no such thing as a perfect meal or the perfect gifts. Everyone has different expectations. Just do the best you can, and if someone complains, tell them they're in charge of the meal and hosting responsibilities next year.
  • Stop and enjoy the small things that make you happy. Maybe it's the smell of vanilla candles, watching the children play in the yard, just sitting and petting  and playing with your cat. You get the idea. It's the old "stop and smell the roses" thing.