the stress from Christmas
With Christmas and New Years approaching, many of us may
be feeling more stress and pressure as we anticipate the demands of
the season. Unfortunately, because of high expectations of ourselves
and of the season we may not allow ourselves to fully enjoy and appreciate
the holiday season. Here are some tips from the Idaho's Employee Assistance
Program provider to simplify, de-stress, and more fully enjoy the holiday
You do not have to overspend during the holidays. Some ideas for making
the season less costly are:
- Have a potluck dinner, instead of preparing the entire family meal
- Set a price limit for purchased gifts; communicate this limit to other
family members or friends.
- Give a gift from one family to another family; once again, communicating
this before hand prevents unnecessary guilt.
- Pass on a family heirloom that would be meaningful to another member
of the family.
- Give the gift of personal service - e.g., babysitting, cleaning,
Take time for your children
For parents, the holidays can be especially enjoyable or especially stressful,
depending on how well you plan and attend to children’s needs.
Slow down and take time to reconnect.
Give your child 10 minutes of uninterrupted attention. Your child
will be more relaxed and able to handle the times you have to spend
on other holiday activities.
Give your children a role in activities and preparations.
If they feel they are participating they are less likely to act out
or whine. Even very young children can be involved. Examples include
gift-wrapping, choosing gifts, baking, addressing cards, making own
Try to limit your social obligations to two per week
and not spend too many evenings away from the children.
Savor your family traditions and pass them on to your
children. Tell them where the traditions came from and how you experienced
the holidays when you were a child.
Overall, for those with families, it is important
to scale down obligations. Some families observe the rule of no outside
parties or functions after the 19th, just to give the family a little
time to settle in together before Christmas. Also, some traditions
that are especially time-consuming or stressful may be modified or
even eliminated. For example, if making the gingerbread houses involves
a great deal of time and stress, you can choose to eliminate that
tradition. The same goes for excessive decorating.
The main point is that we often have an unrealistic expectation
of how much we should “get done” during the holidays. By
simplifying and focusing less on getting things done, and more on relaxing
and enjoying those who we love, we stand a much better chance of experiencing
a relatively stress-free holiday season.
If you experience difficulty, you may consult your Employee Assistance
Program by calling (800) 726-0003. An appointment can be scheduled near
you. For more information about reducing your anxiety level, see the
EAP web site at: http://www.bpahealth.com/e_wl_stress.html