When I was a band director, my mother would insist that I send out holiday cards to my many brothers and sisters. December is one of the busiest times of the year for band directors. She had no idea the stress she was adding with her request. The stress came from not being able to make my mother happy in this regard, because I had no intention and no energy to do as she asked.
You don't have to do all the things you're "supposed" to do to have an enjoyable and meaningful holiday season.
Many of the things you're "supposed" to do
are not expectations others have of you,
but that you have of yourself.
Here are 5 ways to destress the holiday season:
- Change your priorities by changing your mindset.
Do you think you have to buy your loved ones everything they want? You may have a mindset problem. Figure out what the holidays mean to you. Do you really want it to be about gifts and decorations? Or do you want it to be about meaningful time with family and friends?
- Be present.
Thinking about what preparations should be made may be causing you to become distracted and making you miss some of the beauty happening right now. Being present is a gift you can give to yourself that costs nothing but your attention and gives back in emotional centeredness and joy. Incorporate breaks, mindfulness, and self-care into your daily routine.
- Let it be easy.
You don't have to do all the traditions in the ways they've been done before. Create new traditions that are less overwhelming. Everyone would rather have you in a good mood than watch you be stressed out.
- Limit technology.
You already know how easy it is to get sucked into screen time and lose precious moments with loved ones. Set technology limits and abide by them.
- Stop competing.
How you choose to celebrate the holiday season is a reflection of your own values. Don't try to keep up with what others are doing. You don't have to match their efforts or beat their decorations; you just have to be you.
Cherish the love and joy and peace that the holiday season can bring, and leave behind everything you feel that you "should" do or that brings you stress. You get to choose what you want the season to mean to you, and you get to choose how to celebrate it!
Dr. Nancy Williams is a musician and leadership & life coach. You can subscribe to her weekly newsletters of inspiration and leadership tips, and get the free, simple worksheet "5 Steps to Overcoming Overwhelm (and creating the life you deserve!).