We're getting into the most stressful time of the year - the time from Halloween to New Years. Add in the economy and pass the antacids! By starting now, you can eliminate some of that stress. Here's how:
Have you ever had expectations of how a certain situation should go, only to be disappointed? Sometimes our expectations can rob us of enjoying the moment. Even if the moment doesn't happen how we had envisioned, we don't want to miss the enjoyment it can bring! And this is so true about the holiday season, when expectations abound!
As you anticipate the holidays, think through your expectations. Talk with your family members or those with whom you will be spending the holiday season. Ask what is important to them - activities, traditions, food, spiritual emphasis, giving, service opportunities, etc. Now is the time to determine what is important, so you're not stressed at the last minute trying to create delightful memories, possibly creating the opposite!
Make a list of all your traditions, from decorating to parties. Keep the ones you love (forget about impressing other people), and retire the ones you don't. I have a tendency to feel I needed to incorporate all we have ever done, but what is the point, if we are just doing it for tradition's sake and not because someone wants to do it?
Be realistic!!! Know what you can handle and what you cannot. Each year is different. One year we were moving in January so we scaled down our holiday preparations and activities. Do you have extenuating circumstances you need to consider this year? Don't try to be superhuman!
Don't be afraid to limit activities so you can enjoy the season!! Just because an opportunity is presented to you, doesn't mean you need to accept. Consider whether it is something important to you and/or family members. Having an evening at home decorating the tree and drinking hot chocolate may be a welcome alternative to being out.
Determine to be flexible when things don't match your expectations. Many times our greatest disappointments are our unfulfilled expectations. Enjoy the moment rather than compare it to memories or expectations. Be present and relish what is happening. And if it's not the greatest, do what you can to make it pleasant. Be other-centered rather than self-centered. After all, it IS more blessed to give than to receive!