The Holidays are nearly upon us, and as we barrel through any last-minute shopping trips or grocery runs, Family Institute staff therapist and Director of Research Lynne Knobloch-Fedders, PhD, provides some overarching tips to help make the holiday season more relaxing, meaningful and stress-free for you and your family.
Tip 1: Understand and focus on what makes the holiday season special for you.
Spend some time thinking about what make the holidays special for you. This will make it easier for you prioritize what is really important, and will prevent you from getting distracted by unimportant details. In addition, try to make your expectations of the holidays as realistic as possible. It helps to develop a sense of humor. When things go wrong (which they will), it is helpful to be able to laugh rather than cry.
Tip 2: Maintain your normal routine as much as possible.
Sometimes the holidays are stressful simply because they require that we break out of our normal routine. Make an effort to keep to your normal schedule as much as you can. If you have regular exercise, sleeping or eating patterns, try to stick to these as much as possible to avoid disrupting your body’s natural rhythms.
Tip 3: Give yourself the gift of self-care.
The holiday season often is extremely draining because of all those extra activities. It is important for you to take good care of yourself during the holiday season. Eat well, exercise, get plenty of sleep and take “time out” to enjoy things that you love.
Tip 4: Develop family rituals.
Rituals can be fun – and meaningful – ways to celebrate the holiday season. Traditions passed down through the generations can become cherished memories. But the key is to keep rituals simple – they do not have to be elaborate to be meaningful.
Tip 5: Practice good communication with your family and friends.
Holiday stress can also be caused when misunderstandings or disagreements occur between family members or friends. It can be tempting to avoid creating more conflict, so we often tend to ignore the problem and hope it goes away. However, a better solution is to address your concerns directly with your family or friends in a gentle, but honest, manner. Encourage them to be open with you as well. Work together to find a solution that is satisfactory to everyone.
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