Cooler temps, family gatherings, endless errands and shopping lists, the holidays are stressful!
While it is usually considered to be the most “wonderful” time of the year, not everyone feels so positively about the holidays. Many people go into or add to existing debt for gifts and presents, many travel or host visitors from out of town for weeks or months at a time. We’ve taken the true meaning of the holiday season (family, togetherness, gratitude) and turned it into a mad dash to stores in the middle of the night, waking up from a deep sleep to add forgotten items to the Amazon cart, and overextending ourselves in ways that can take months or years to recover from. Is it all worth it?
For many, the holidays remind people of the losses they’ve had over the year(s) and the grief and loss adds to the pressure of buying “the perfect gift” for everyone on their list. For some, it is a stark reminder of challenges faced and overcome over the previous 11 months of the year.
Here are some tips to help you and your family get through the holiday season with ease:
- Divide meal preparations and gathering-related tasks among guests. It may seem silly or inappropriate, but most of us cannot host a holiday party single-handedly. Delegate family members and guests to actively participate in preparations and create a menu that everyone agrees to contribute to. This puts less pressure on you and leaves more room to enjoy your guests.
- It’s okay to say “no”. The party invites usually stream in this time of year and it can be humanly impossible to make everything fit into an already busy schedule. If you said yes to Sally’s party last year, say no for a change and accept a new invitation this year…or decline both and use the time to relax, enjoy a warm bath or cup of hot cocoa, and enjoy quality time with your spouse and child.
- Create new traditions/modify old ones. We all know that these are. Some traditions are arduous, time-consuming tasks that everyone loathes, get rid of it! Acknowledge the tradition in memory and create a new one that fits your family and lifestyle. Traditions are meant to be enjoyed.
- Take time to disconnect. It can be difficult to step away from the smartphone when everyone is showing off their new purchases or gifts. Taking an evening (or two) off of social media can help us to appreciate the gifts that exist in our reality instead of someone else’s. Be present and in the moment, you won’t get these holiday moments back once they’re gone.
- Reach out to/invite others who have nowhere to go. If you have a friend or family member that has experienced a loss over the course of the year, extend an invitation for them to join in your celebrations. Even if they decline, they will appreciate that you thought of them and you will feel better knowing that they know you care.
- Create and stick to a budget. Financial stress is the number one complaint of most people after the new year. Create a list of people to buy for, a dollar amount for each, and stick to it! If you find it easy to go over budget, you may want to decrease the dollar amount for each person. It’s the thought that counts, truly, and most people can go out and buy what they really want. Be good to your future self by not overspending now!
The staff at Palm Beach Family Counseling wish you and your loved ones a very happy, healthy, and safe holiday season. We look forward to seeing you in the new year!!