Start of the Holiday Season

The approaching holiday season soon kicks-off with Thanksgiving. The next few months bring the potential for added stress of family obligations, added expenses, cultural and social expectations as well as many wonderful tempting treats that can make counting calories a challenging task. However, this was probably not the intent when seasonal holidays were created.

In the field of psychology, “Stress is Stress”. Whether it is a welcomed stress (such as a wedding or job promotion) or a dreaded stress (such as losses) it creates the same stress response. Likewise, holidays can be stressful even if we look forward to them so the issue of stress management is important.

Here are a few ways that you might better manage the holiday stress and increase enjoyment:

  • Set a firm budget. If you do not have the money to do something for everyone on your list consider something homemade or a simple handwritten letter with photos describing how that person is meaningful in your life.
  • When you are considering budgeting, be sure to include ways to “budget” calories and don’t neglect your exercise routine.
  • Plan your giving, whether it is gifts or time. Consider your own needs and the needs of those close to you first, then allocate your time and resources as you choose to make your experience enjoyable.
  • Be sure that you teach your children the meaning that YOU want them to associate with the holidays, whether it is a religious component or a spiritual one (such as thankfulness or gratitude). Help your family avoid getting caught-up in the commercial definitions of the holidays, believe me, they will understand if the luxury car with a large bow is not in the driveway. Consider volunteering with your children during the holidays to teach giving. Consider volunteering for one of the agencies that provide free meals or one of the care centers for the elderly.

Regardless of your religious, cultural or personal beliefs for the holidays, find a way to make them meaningful and centered on the meaning that you and your loved ones want them to be.