Family traditions and reducing holiday stress

Bringing family together during the holidays can be full of joy, but often, it brings a large amount of stress. Media outlets portray the holidays as a time where everything flows together in magical moments with lots of laughter and hugs.

Such images warm the heart, but they also lead to high expectations. And unmet expectations can lead to stress, disappointment, and even anger.

Financial burdens can weigh heavy on any family, but during the holidays, the weight can be exponentially heavier. The holidays can be an opportunity to practice the art of letting go. Easier said that done, of course.

Try making a list of what is most important to you and your family and then decide what you can let go. One good approach is to ask yourself what could be gained and what would steal joy from your holiday experience. It helps provide perspective on the big picture.

What does the holiday season essentially stand for? Perhaps, togetherness. So ask yourself, what would bring your family together in a peaceful manner within your budget? It’s a great time to get creative and have some fun.

Maybe hitting the local ice skating rink and getting a slice of pizza from your favorite local place would be a fun new experience. Sure, that may not be typically what you do on the holiday, but the idea is to let go of expectations and to be together without discontent. Maybe your creative ideas will bring about new family traditions that reduce stress and frustration.

It’s also vital to practice self care during the holidays. For most people self care is the last thing on the to-do list, if it makes the list at all. However, you can not drive a car without gas. It’s so important to take time for yourself. I’m not talking a vacation to Florida, just setting some time aside to regroup.

It may mean a warm bath, sitting alone for few minutes to read some encouraging quotes, or there are plenty of helpful breathing techniques available online to reduce stress. Taking some time for yourself is like putting your oxygen mask on first. When you take care of yourself, you are able to handle stress more effectively.

As the holiday season approaches, take time to look at your expected outcomes, makes lists, get creative, and find time to care for yourself.

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