I saw this image of Rudolph online today and I chuckled because like everyone else, I’m finding this time of year very stressful. There is too much to get done in too little time and too many things to juggle on top of the normal every day stressors of life. Add onto that any grief you may be experiencing missing loved ones during this time and/or any stressful dynamics between family members and the holiday season can be a recipe for disaster. I don’t have a magic wand or the “cure” for all of that stress and anxiety you may be feeling, but I do have a gentle reminder to all (and myself) that managing our stress during the holidays can look very similar to managing it during any other season.
1. That it’s OK to not be okay. Chances are you are in very good company and your friends and family are also feeling like Rudolph in the picture.
2. Stop and ask yourself if having everything “perfect” and getting that to-do list of 100 things complete this year will matter in five years. On the contrary, the year you all showed up to your family’s dinner in pajamas because you “failed” to have the “perfect” outfits for all of the children may be the only holiday dinner you all remember fondly and laugh about years later.
3. Take a minute to set realistic expectations of yourself, cut out what you can and ask for help where you can. It’s ok to say “no” and not do it all.
4. Breathe! Be mindful, take a break, practice grounding techniques and above all be kind to yourself by not only setting realistic expectations, asking for and accepting help, but also by making sure your inner voice is a supportive and kind one.
Have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy the positive and happy moments during whichever holiday you and your family celebrate!