1. Take time out. During the stress of the holiday rush, many people forget to take time to just relax. Slow down for a moment or two, connect with your loved ones and chill. Sit down together and decompress about your days. Stop the rat race and give yourself a break—trust me, the world is not going to fall apart because you took some time to have a peaceful moment.
2. Relationships before tasks. Remember to be relational during the holidays. With all the stress, many of us are so busy getting things done that we make that our number one priority. The priority should always be relationships first, tasks second. Having a messy table will not end your relationship with your in-laws—not speaking to them because you’re too busy cleaning up the table might .
3. Offer a helping hand or ask for a helping hand. Do not try to be wonder woman or superman. Share the gift buying, party planning, dinner cooking/cleaning, etc. Ask your partner for help if you need it and/or offer to help if you see they need it. Getting through the holidays is a much more enjoyable experience when we partner with one another. If one partner is buying the gifts, the other partner could wrap them. Minimally, both partners should be brainstorming about gifts for the kids or parents. Don’t assume the other person is responsible—that’s a cop out.
4. Let go of control. It will be easier for your partner to partner with you if you let go of needing to have everything done your way. Remember that your way is not THE way—it’s just another way. Let go of the reigns and make room for those around you.
5. Remember that sometimes it’s not about you. This is always a good tip to remember at any time of year, so use good boundaries during the holidays. Know that some people get more stressed during the holiday season and that has nothing to do with you. Don’t make their stress your stress and don’t make their issues your issues. As a refresher, read my post on boundaries and then practice them throughout the holidays. http://lmerlobooth.typepad.com/straighttalk/2006/06/boundaries_in_r.html.
6. Talk to your partner ahead of time about gifts. Make explicit agreements about how many gifts you’d like to get for the kids, etc., or how much you’d like to spend. If you are struggling financially, remember to come up with a holiday budget that everyone feels comfortable with and that is affordable. Also look for more creative gifts that don’t cost a lot of money (e.g. offer to baby-sit for family members, give an adult child a family recipe book, give a family journal filled with family history and fun stories).
These are just a few of the things that can help make your holiday a little less stressful and more enjoyable. I’d love to hear any suggestions you have that help you with your holiday. Until then, enjoy your holiday season and RELAX!
CHALLENGE: Throughout the holiday season, remember to put relationships before tasks. Be creative with your gift-giving and let go of control. Have a wonderful holiday and a very Happy New Year!