Blanco County News
Weather Partly Cloudy 84.0°F (41%)
Health and Wellness
How to Handle Holiday Stress
Wellness Consultant
Wednesday, December 26, 2012 • Posted December 30, 2012 7:26 AM

Having spent Thanksgiving in the hospital, I've already experienced holiday stress. I wanted everything to be perfect. It wasn't. I wanted everyone to get along. They didn't. I wanted my silver to gleam. It didn't. I wanted my centerpiece to show off my creativity. What centerpiece? Still I tried to make it up to the family…especially the children. Now comes the slew of parties, cookies, gifts, bills, and greeting cards that weigh us down and stress us out until mid-January. I plan to make an effort to follow my own and Karen’s good advice. Here are some great tips and ideas from: Karen Susman, Speaker/Author/Coach, works with organizations and individuals that want to maximize their performance and quality of life. Check out her free tips and articles at

Lower expectations. Have a realistic view of what is really important. Your kids want your time. They are not going to remember the Martha Stewart decorations - unless you involve them in the making of the decorations.

Don't overschedule yourself or your family. Pick and choose the holiday functions.

Take care of yourself. You can't give what you don't have. So, eat healthfully, avoid the sweets as much as possible. Exercise routines are sacrificed when we're overwhelmed, but exercise is the best investment of your time.

Get plenty of sleep. Most of us are suffering from sleep deprivation as it is. Nothing is worth your getting sick.

Ask for help. Involve your kids, spouse, family and friends.

Ask yourself, "If I only had half the time, what would I do?" This will help you prioritize.

Pick names for gifts instead of buying a gift for everyone. This will save you money and time.

Shop online or from catalogues.

Buy stamps online. Why stand in line at the post office?

Make gifts with your kids. They'll love the time spent together and they'll be proud of their creations.

Read holiday stories to your children. This allows you to sit down, relax and connect. (We had a holiday tradition of everyone climbing on to the big bed and reading together.)

Start new holiday traditions that are less stressful for you but just as meaningful.

Ask yourself why you're really working this hard on the holidays. Many times our egos get in the way, or we're in competition with a friend or family member. Martyrdom has lots of payoffs. Give it up!

Take a minute in the tub, or waiting in line to write down all your stressors. Include your everyday stressors as well as holiday stressors. Which ones can you face head on, take care of and get off your list? For instance, if paying bills is hanging over your head, sit down and get that done. Get the snow tires on instead of praying it doesn't snow. If money's short, spend less, cut up credit cards or call a financial advisor.

Look at your list of stressors and determine which ones you have no control over. Your parents are aging. The economy is like sludge. If you live in Minnesota, it will snow.

Do a mental makeover. Reframe what the holidays are all about for you. Is this a religious holiday? Then forget the fluff and focus on the real meaning. If your kids are pressuring you to buy, buy, buy, this is a wonderful opportunity to help them learn the value of giving to others. Have them go through their toys and pick some to take to a homeless shelter.

Remember how you felt on December 26 or January 2 last go 'round. What did you say you'd never do again? What did your kids enjoy most? How would you like to feel this year after the holidays? How can you achieve this?

Don't get caught up in the hoopla. Just because the media, family, friends, etc. say we should be doing something doesn't mean we have to.

When a "should" runs through your mind, you don't have to act on it.

Embrace your imperfection. It's one of the nicest things you can do for your kids and your mate. Being imperfect takes the pressure off you and off them.

Limit your TV watching - especially the news.

Don't do anything in December you're going to regret in January. Why be stuck with huge bills and 10 extra pounds?

One last de-stresser: the holidays will pass and you'll survive. You always do. Merry Christmas and Happy holidays to you and yours.

Facts in these articles are obtained from medical and clinical journals, scientific publications, and published trade books. These articles have been written and published strictly for information purposes. consult your health care provider for your specific medical needs. For any questions, comments or suggestions contact Maryella at or

This article has been read 145 times.
Readers are solely responsible for the content of the comments they post here. Comments do not necessarily reflect the opinion or approval of Blanco County News. Comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.
Comments powered by Disqus