What if you are not one of those “Christmas glee” people? Carols, lights, crowds, shopping, trees, cooking, baking, parties, pressures, requests, deadlines… Anxiety increases as you watch others skipping through the holiday like a merry fairy princess, decorating and making hot cocoa.
It is enough to make you want to crawl in a hole and stay there. Christmas can create stress and anxiety. Christmas used to be chalk full of angst for me and I would write a note to myself on the next year’s calendar at the beginning of December. It would read: “You will survive this month. Keep your focus on what’s important.”
To protect yourself from ending this joyful season sitting in a corner with a red bow on your head, rocking and drooling while singing Silent Night, follow these 7 simple tips:
- Make a List – Sit down and list out what activities are most important. After a disaster of a Christmas season I sat down with my husband and children and wrote out a plan. I asked them what activities were most important to them. We wrote down and started family traditions we then practiced each year. We marked the important and deleted the remaining.
- Learn the Word No – Being able to use the word “no” during this season will save you from dreading the approaching Christmas for the following 11 months. “Can you bake 6 dozen cookies for the Rotary Club?” “Oh I would love to but…no.” “Can you sew the costumes for the church play? We only need 100.” “Oh what a lovely idea…no.” It’s simple. If it will cause you stress or if you don’t want to do it, say no.
- Keep What Is Most Important a Priority – Everything you say yes to causes you to say no to something else. Know what your priorities are and guard them. If something is not on your priority list refer back to #2.
- Spend Time With People You Love – Community and connectedness make any season bright. Spending time with family and friends is like medicine.
- Carve Out Time To Relax – Don’t just go, go, go. Stop. Relax. Breathe. Give yourself permission to visit with a friend, take a nap, get a foot massage.
- Don’t Overdo It – Do you really need 15 desserts? Do you have to make homemade ornaments? Just because grandma did it a certain way doesn’t mean you have to. Be reasonable. No need to get crazy.
- Start Early – Starting early takes the pressure off. I begin my Christmas shopping and strategy in October. Yep! October. When November rolls around I am already sitting with my feet up watching Christmas movies.
Follow the above tips and before next Christmas you’ll turn into one of those Christmas glee people…or maybe not. But you will make your life more enjoyable during the holiday season. Be present. Stay in the moment. Practice joy every day.