Holiday Menu: Avoid Stress

Ah, the holidays. Cooler weather. Friends and family gather together. We feel the love, and we feel the pain, as we remembering those who are no longer here. There are endless chats with in-laws and shopping and crowds. Stretchy clothing for those moments when we just can’t resist another cookie. No wonder it is easy to feel miserable during the most wonderful time of the year.

Although the holidays are meant to be a time of festivity, decorating, religious observances, and traditions, people can try to do too much and be too hard on themselves when things don’t go exactly as imagined. The extra demands people place on themselves, along with the expectations of the season, often leaves individuals feeling stressed. Here are some strategies to help you fret less and find more holiday cheer!*

  • Set Priorities – It’s easy to overextend yourself during the holidays. Share responsibilities for cooking, baking, and shopping with others. When allotting your limited time, choose quality over quantity and decide what activities you and your family what most enjoy doing. Learn to say “no” gently but firmly to social events that are over your limit.

  • Keep It Simple – A holiday feast doesn’t have to be elaborate to be wonderful; often traditional fare is appreciated most, with guests providing some of the dishes. When shopping, take advantage of gift-wrapping services, and try shopping online!

  • Stay in Budget – Learn to say no to expensive holiday ideas or dinner menus. Choose simple, thoughtful, and enjoyable items/menus instead of the elaborate choices.

  • Riding the Emotional Roller Coaster – Holidays can be hard on emotions. The holidays of childhood take on a magical glow that is often impossible to recover in adulthood. While radios and department stores are blaring messages of peace and joy, one dreads the family gathering that always leads to someone not speaking to someone else. If family gatherings are stressful, avoid long visits, either in your house or away. Defer settling family arguments until some other time. Be willing to let go of old traditions if they no longer work for your family, and find new ones that do.

  • Take Care of Yourself – Help counter the holiday pressures by giving yourself time for rest and renewal each day. No matter how delicious it might be, avoid overindulgence in holiday food, alcohol, caffeine. Think about what the holidays mean to you and the reason for celebration.

Overall, don’t forget the joy! Try to celebrate the holidays in new and creative ways. Remember that you are not a “human doing” but a human being! Enjoy the uniqueness of each special person in your life and enjoy the time you can spend just being together. Seek out the simple joys of the holiday season with your friends and family. Taking a walk around the neighborhood to look at holiday decorations, singing carols, playing games, or just talking are easy and healthy ways to positively experience the holidays.

*Strategies provided by Affinity Health