5 Ways to Relieve Stress During the Holidays

10/25/2016

I love this time of year.  October through the New Year is full of surprises – from connecting with friends we don’t seem to get time for the rest of the year, to travel, parties, shopping, and family meals.  There seems to be a more universal and accepted focus on the things of faith as we all remember to be thankful in November.  And, many visit a church sometime in December.  Indeed, I think October, November and December encompass the best a year has to offer.

Of course (and especially this election year) this can also be the time that fosters the most stress, as our calendars are full, work year-end deadlines loom, and your to-do list is endless. Here are my tips to handle stress during the holidays, so you can enjoy all the fun stuff!
·      Vote early!  Many states allow you to in person vote early – so instead of fretting, just go vote!  Then, turn the television off through Election Day.  Once you’ve voted, move on.  This election cycle is doing nothing to help anyone’s stress level!  If you need to check your state’s voting calendar, visit here.  https://www.vote.org/early-voting-calendar/

·      Give gifts thoughtfully. Communicate with extended family members and recommend affordable thoughtful alternatives to buying presents for the masses.  One year our family decided to exchange gifts limited to $20, and no part of the gift could be new.  We had so much fun looking for “just the right” find at garage sales and thrift stores.  These gifts are still some of my favorite items in our home, from a favorite serving dish, to an antique wooden box with our family name engraved in it.  We saved money and we found that each gift was much more important than any store-bought gift since it required extra thought to find our perfect gifts.

·      Gather around the table. Share the wealth with cooking the big meal.  Instead of going crazy with the family meals, make a new tradition by asking everyone in attendance to bring their favorite meal to pass.  Simply provide the main dish (and keep it simple by sticking to a traditional turkey!) Give everyone else permission to bring ANY of their favorite foods – and encourage creativity. I know my family LOVES a meal of turkey with pizza, french-fries, donut holes, take-out Chinese food, etc.  Try it – you’ll find everyone will love this new “tradition” and you won’t go crazy cooking for days!

·      Work ahead of deadline. Check your work deadlines now for projects due in November and December and ensure your team is on track for a timely completion.  Now is the time to engage additional help or revise goals in order to ensure success.  This is true to for all those obligations that your children will have this time of year, too, with year-end parties, costumes, gifts, etc.  Create a calendar noting those deadlines and  when each deadline occurs, you’re ready.

·      Pray without ceasing. This isn’t the time to take a sabbatical from your faith.  In fact, the opposite is true!  The best way to enjoy the peace of this busy season is to remember the reason for it.  Take a few minutes each morning before your feet even hit the floor to talk to God.  Thank Him for your many blessings, and ask Him for direction, guidance, wisdom, and peace.

On January 1, 2017 you want to wake up fondly remembering the past few months, not relieved they are over.  Consider adopting these stress relievers.  I’m confident they’ll make a difference in your appreciation of the season!



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