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How to De-Stress the Holidays

On one hand, holidays are a time of excitement, togetherness, and opportunities to make memories. On the other hand, they can be intense, challenging and in some cases, triggering. Here are some ways to make it through and come out smiling on the other side!


1.     Decide in advance: look over your calendar, and figure in all the prep time you will need for last minute gifts, meals, shopping for meals, airport pickups, and all the little things that come up. Say no to double booking yourself or running yourself ragged.


2.     Say yes to relatives and friends lending a hand to help with food shopping, dog walking, or even preparing a dish. Most people feel good and purposeful doing little errands or even helping in the kitchen. If there are people who have experienced loss, consider including them in your inner circle crew.


3.     Be prepared for differences in perspective: If you know that someone else has the the polar opposite view on: life, politics, climate, education, world conflicts etc,  Dr. Samantha Boardman recommends and i agree entirely, “Aim for smaller areas of agreement and reframe with the other person's values. Wrapping your message in terms of their values is far more persuasive than trying to bang them over the head with your morality.” In other words, look for things you agree on. That can be the start to better communication overall.


4.    Reduce present pressure. Some families go for presence rather than presents as in gifts.  They pool together what they have to support a favorite charity or 2. Don’t get trapped in overspending to be “nice.” You don’t need future financial burdens to add to your post-holiday stuff. And, if you talk about it in advance, you may discover that everyone is relieved.


5.    The Laughter Rx: When spending time together, be curious about family history. Hear stories about your grandparents, distant relatives, or share a quality of someone in the family that you admire. Best yet  - have everyone tell the funniest story they remember about the family. You could all be laughing your heads off. Every family has its funny moments...


6.     Take a break, from your phone!: Before a meal, have a basket where everyone puts in their cell phone. Otherwise you could have a group of people sitting in the same room all staring at their devices (like in an airport) . Can you picture it? Not particularly festive! 


7.     Reserve time for getting outside + connecting on the inside: When you need quiet time, take it! Whether it’s 15 minutes in the morning alone, taking a walk in nature to appreciate the beauty, or just around the block to clear your head. Take some time to recenter, re-energize, and remember that it’s not guaranteed that everyone will be together next year or the next. So be on look for the laughter and for special moments, and take a snapshot in your mind to savor long after the holidays are past.



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