Emotional Health · Family & Friends

Cutting the Holiday Chaos

As many of us gathered with our families around the table to celebrate Thanksgiving, we were reminded why we get together with our relatives only over the holidays. We counted our blessings that we did not have to see them again for another whole . . . month? Oh dear.

Holidays are a recipe for stress. Mix a pound of expectations with a cup of family togetherness, a cup of childhood memories and a dash of alcohol and you’ve got a formula for a less than joyful holiday season.  While some really enjoy the holidays, for many it can be a difficult time as we contemplate the aspects of our lives that are not straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting.

The holidays, though, don’t need to be all rushing and chaos.  Here are a few things I’m doing this season to cut down on the stress:

  • Deck the halls, but only if you want to: What make the holidays special to you? What part of these next few weeks is important? Set your own personal priorities for the things that bring you joy. They might include spending time at your religious place of worship, driving around looking at Christmas lights, or drinking hot chocolate with your children. In any case, it’s important to take the time to do what matters to you and your family. For me, I like to decorate the tree and make caramel corn to give to friends and family. I’ve had years where I went all out for the holidays, baking dozens of cookies and turning the house into a veritable winter wonderland.  This isn’t going to be one of those years, and that’s OK.
  • Bring a little joy to the world: Consider how you can help to make the season a little more joyful for others. Yes, your schedule is packed and it can be hard to fit something else in this season, but if you can, consider volunteering. If your resources allow, donate to a cause that you feel strongly about. Making a difference for others gives the holidays more meaning and, let’s be honest, also makes you feel good.

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