To most people, the holidays mean long, hard, unpleasant, stressful work. How much of it has to do with outside and family expectations and how much we bring upon ourselves is not the issue I want to discuss – although it might be something worth thinking about. What I want to share with you are ways in which you can be less frazzled and more joyful in the midst of it all.
If you can keep your positive spirit, it will be contagious. After all, the end of the year should be a time of rejoicing and goodwill. The specific ways to less stress and more fun have to be individualized. Therefore, I’m going to give you some simple and short suggestions, some general principles you can apply.
1. Evaluate expectations, values and meanings
Take time to find out what makes you and those around you happy – what everyone really wants to do. Remember that true joy has to do with celebration, meaning and connection to others. Will your employees really prefer a formal party, or a more informal one? Do you need to give a gift to everyone, or are there alternatives? Would it be more meaningful if all your family volunteer time to feed the hungry, or to wrap up gifts for needy children? Use your imagination!
2. Divide and conquer
Who says you have to do it all? Let others help and jobs will get done faster (most of the time) and be more fun for everyone. At home, even 3-year-old children can stick on stamps, close envelopes or distribute candles around the house. Or you can divide up tasks assembly-line fashion: While one calls for ingredients, another finds them, someone else measures, and another mixes. Then all help with the cleaning! You spend time together and finish sooner. At work, you might have to hire more help or redistribute responsibilities to meet needs.
Whether your style is to make lists, write in a notebook, leave sticky notes to yourself, or think through your options, you need to take time to organize (Even Santa has his list. . .!). It will save you much time and will mean less hassle. It will also let you see in a concrete way if you are trying to do too much.
4. Be realistic
Evaluate what is feasible and stick to it. Some things to take into account are: health, money, family situation, time, emotional issues, and personal skills.
5. Learn to identify and deal with stress
The trick is to do something about stress before it gets out of hand. Breathe deeply and slowly, smile, take a break, daydream, look for humor, abandon what you are doing and do something else, or do nothing. Don’t push yourself to the breaking point. If you don’t take time out to do something about the stress, you will end up angry, frustrated, tense, fatigued, sick, joyless – and you will make everybody around you miserable too.
6. Keep up your health
Adequate sleep, water intake, exercise, healthful food, positive thinking, humor, time for relaxation, play, and nurturing relationships (friends, coworkers, family) will help reduce stress.
7. Check your emotions
Take responsibility for your emotions. Emotions are signals which you need to heed. Bad or sad experiences in the past tend to color our holiday memories. Do not allow them to take over your life. Identify past losses and wounds and then let them go. Look for help if necessary. And then, enjoy the holidays. Remember that we tend to get what we expect. If you plan for and expect days of joy and cherished moments with others, you will probably find them.
Coworkers, children, family and friends will not long remember your perfectly clean office or house, perfect decorations, perfect party, perfectly wrapped presents or perfect meal; they will remember the fun and love you shared. Don’t let stress steal and spoil it! Enjoy the Holidays! Let us know in the comments what works best for you.
Best gift for your relationship
Many times relationships deteriorate, bickering becomes too common, intimacy goes away, and communication is very superficial. Don't wait for things to get to the point of separation! As the Holidays turn into a New Year, Rekindle your love. That's the best gift for yourself, your relationship, and your children (if you have any).