Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa and other holiday celebrations make for a fun time of year for many, but for others, it can mean loneliness and anxiety.
Here are a few tips for a stress-free holiday season, followed by the Top 11 things that make Americans cringe about the holidays:
1. Set a Goal
“The first step to a ‘stress-less’ holiday is to determine your most important goal for the season,” explains Beverly Beuermann-King, a stress and wellness expert who delivers stress workshops to companies across the country.
2. Have a Plan
Stop, relax and start doing some planning. Relinquish those activities that have lost meaning or complicate your life. Get back to the basics and simplify.
3. There’s No ‘Perfect’ Gift
Spending weeks or months finding the perfect gift for that special someone can be a waste of time. “Bring back the meaning of the holidays by simply showing people you appreciate them,” says Beuermann-King. “Ask for suggestions. It doesn’t have to be the most unique or expensive gift to make a lasting impression.”
4. Keep Calm; Carry On
As you are out and about this holiday season and anxiety starts to build, or you’re waiting in the long lines in the stores, try deep breathing to calm yourself down, Beuermann-King suggests. Anticipate the wait times, and catch up on some reading or organize your remaining tasks.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Alter Tradition
“Try simplifying things,” she suggests. “Instead of a 15-course meal with you doing six hours of dishes, try using paper plates or asking your guests to bring a dish. And for those who dread certain holiday interactions, “tradition says we should spend time with our families, but if you don’t like your family you shouldn’t be spending time with them during the holidays,” said Beuermann-King. “Find traditions that add purpose to your life and get rid of those that don’t.”
6. Take Time for Yourself
Most of all, make sure to take care of yourself by resting well, eating a balanced diet and spending time with the people who make you happy.
The Top 11 things that Americans dread about holidays:
68%: Crowds and long lines
37%: Gaining weight
37%: Getting into debt
28%: Gift shopping
24%: Seeing certain relatives
23%: Seasonal music
19%: Disappointing gifts
16%: Having to attend holiday parties or events
15%: Having to be nice
12%: Holiday tipping
(Survey by the Consumer Reports National Research Center)