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Challenge: Your Special Traditions

Reducing Holiday Stress

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๐—œ๐—ณ ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ธ๐—ฒ ๐—บ๐—ฒ, ๐˜†๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐—ฝ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—ฏ๐—ฎ๐—ฏ๐—น๐˜† ๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—ป ๐—ณ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—น ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐˜„๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ต๐—ผ๐—น๐—ถ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐˜ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐˜„๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐—ต ๐—ฝ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ฑ๐—ฎ๐˜†, ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—ด๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜€ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ.

You know what I mean. You can feel it when you are shopping in the stores. People scurry by each other, avoiding eye contact as they shop for the "perfect" gift. They fight over the last pink stocking in the Target dollar bin. They roll their eyes, sigh loudly and make rude comments about cashiers who are "too slow." They yell at each other over parking spots. They flash each other the middle finger as they cut each other off on the roadways.

๐™”๐™š๐™จ, ๐™ž๐™ฉ'๐™จ ๐™—๐™š๐™œ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™ฃ๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™ก๐™ค๐™ค๐™  ๐™– ๐™ก๐™ค๐™ฉ ๐™ก๐™ž๐™ ๐™š ๐˜พ๐™๐™ง๐™ž๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™ข๐™–๐™จ. ๐™๐™ค๐™ง ๐™จ๐™ช๐™ง๐™š.

But here are a few tips that may help to reduce some of the holiday stress and allow us to enjoy the true spirit of the holidays.

1. ๐‘น๐’†-๐’†๐’—๐’‚๐’๐’–๐’‚๐’•๐’† ๐’š๐’๐’–๐’“ ๐’†๐’™๐’‘๐’†๐’„๐’•๐’‚๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’๐’”
Chances are you have a "To Do" list a mile long. I'm going to guess that the bulk of that list contains items that are designed to make other people happy.

Are you searching for the perfect gift for your children or partner?
Are you planning a perfect family gathering that will allow the family to get along and not argue
Are you hoping to finally get approval and a public acknowledgement of your worth from that family member that never gives it to you?

STOP!

Sit down with your list and really look at what's important.

Maybe you don't need to make a perfect roast for the family on Christmas day. Maybe a crockpot ham would be just fine.

Maybe you don't need to bake sugar cookies from scratch. Maybe pre-made dough would be fine.

Where can you cut corners and make things a little bit easier? Scaling things back a bit wonโ€™t turn you into a Grinch but it may preserve some of your energyโ€ฆand sanity.

2. ๐™‚๐™š๐™ฉ ๐™ค๐™›๐™› ๐™จ๐™ค๐™˜๐™ž๐™–๐™ก ๐™ข๐™š๐™™๐™ž๐™–
Ok. Maybe that's not realistic. But, at least change the way you experience social media.

Chances are that at least 75% of the pictures and posts you see on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat are perfected (read: fake) versions of pictures and posts that have been taken, retaken, edited, deleted and re-written at least 5 times.

It's not real.

For every "perfect" post you see from a contact on social media, there are probably an equal number of imperfect moments from them. So, when you see that super happy family on Facebook and you think "Why can't we be like them?" remember that the same family could have yelled at each other in the car just five minutes before the post. Don't compare yourself to people on social media.

3. ๐™Ž๐™ฅ๐™š๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™ฉ๐™ž๐™ข๐™š ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ง ๐™ฅ๐™š๐™ค๐™ฅ๐™ก๐™š
You know the people I'm talking about - the people with whom you can be yourself. They accept you - even when your hair and makeup aren't done and you elect to wear sweatpants and a sweatshirt. Schedule time with them where you can just be you. Or, if time is tight, turn to them via phone calls and text messages. Reach out to them when you feel like you are sinking โ€“ they are probably feeling the same way!

4. ๐™‹๐™ก๐™–๐™ฎ
Look at children. They have this great ability to let stress roll off their shoulders. Most of the children I know are not stressing about finding the perfect gift, planning the perfect party, cooking the perfect meal or breaking the bank with gift giving.

You know why?

I think a big part of it is because they know how to play. Take some time to play. What does that look like for you? Just because we are grown-ups doesn't mean we can't have fun.

5. ๐™‰๐™ช๐™ง๐™ฉ๐™ช๐™ง๐™š ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช๐™ง๐™จ๐™š๐™ก๐™›
Santa probably isn't going to leave you a big fat pile of presents on Christmas day and, if you are a parent, Christmas is sort of all about the kids. So, take some time and do something nice for yourself.

Stop and sit at Starbucks by yourself and have a cup of hot chocolate.
Get your nails done.
Take a nap.
Buy yourself a Christmas gift.
Take a bubble bath.
Go to the gym.
Do something for you.

It doesnโ€™t have to cost a lot of money or take up a lot of time but it sure can make a difference and you deserve it!

I know this list isnโ€™t going to remove all of the Christmas stress from your lives. The holidays can be intensely overwhelming and, at times, painful. But, maybe, just maybe, if you take a few minutes and follow some of these tips, you just might find the holidays a little more bearable and, hopefully, even enjoyable.

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