This is a guest post by: Casey Wheeler who is a freelance blogger and a career counselor helping readers understand and process realities of everyday living. He writes about psychology and counseling among other subjects at onlinepsychologydegree.net. Feel free to send any comments and questions his way.
The holiday season often creates an environment where typically rational and level-headed people can suddenly lose their minds to the incessant messages of holiday cheer and media bombardments that come with the year-end festivities. It happens to the best of us: worrying about what relatives to visit; when to take vacation time; who to buy presents for; reflections on self-improvement for the next year. Sometimes it all becomes too much and we have to step back and look at what’s important, and sometimes that takes a while to sort out from all the silly conventions and expectations associated with the holidays.
To prevent you from going over the deep end, dear reader, I’d like to give you three simple but important tips on how to remain calm during this frenetic time. I hope they help you find some solace as you go about your day.
Don’t overwhelm yourself
The first tip I have is to refrain from putting too much on your plate when it comes to planning and organizing holiday events. Family get-togethers, holiday parties at the company, lunches with friends—events like these not only have a tendency of piling up on your schedule, but they also tend to cluster around the same days. All too often we double-book during the holidays just because we don’t want to turn people down or we figure that we should go the extra mile for people because of the festive time.
Do yourself a favor this year and give yourself the hard-earned gift of saying “no” when you know you don’t have time to do something. I know it’s hard to turn people down, especially when there are holiday-themed events to attend, but you’ll be thankful in the end if you give yourself plenty of room to breathe and relax during this typically stressful season.
Give back in meaningful ways
For all of their ostensible benefits, gifts can be the bane of a person’s holiday cheer. If you celebrate one of the gift-centric holidays then you know what I’m talking about. all too often people get bogged down in the search for the “perfect” gift for their parents, their significant other, or for a close friend. Chances are we’re spending way too much on these “perfect” gifts; and while we mean well, we probably don’t need the financial strain.
My advice to you, oh world-weary shopper, is to think of more meaningful ways to give back. You could volunteer at the place you’ve been meaning to check out, for instance. Giving back to the community is a great and purposeful way to spend the holidays. Maybe instead of buying the latest gadget or a gift certificate for a loved one you decide to make something on your own. A long and earnest letter or a DIY craft project will probably be welcomed with more enthusiasm than a gift card from Amazon. At least it should be.
Focus on what matters in your life
This tip really builds on the previous two. I think the biggest problem that befalls people during the holidays is that they get caught up in minor details that don’t really matter. Like how many people they invited to a neighborhood party, or who has the most presents, or whether or not a relative likes the way we cook. There are so many things that we’re forced to think about during the holidays that really don’t matter. Sometimes it’s all too easy to have tunnel vision and forget what matters most at this time: family and friends, being thankful and feeling compassionate.
How do you keep yourself sane during the stresses of the holidays?