Holiday Stress-Busting Strategies

Since I've been writing about all the different situations my clients present to me, I thought I'd share one of the most difficult times of the year for most of the people I work with; the holidays. If you experience anxiety, trepidation, stress, anger, sadness, depression or any other uncomfortable feelings around the holidays you are not alone. Although the song goes, "it's the most wonderful time of the year" and it is, it's also the time of year where many people get depressed and anxious.

Coming from my family I can understand. My dad loved the holidays and always loved seeing his family but my mom, oh boy - my mom, she was a totally different story.

In her earlier days my mom didn't want to go to my dad's family on holidays and as time went by, she tried to get out of our family gatherings also. For the last 4 or 5 years of her life she'd call at the last minute and tell my sister, who usually had the holidays at that time, she wasn't coming. My sister would then call me so I would call mom. What my mother was hoping for was me begging her to come.

In order to have our whole family for the holidays, I would call and say, "You have to come mom; it won't be the holidays without you. If you don't come, I don't think I'll go either." With that, she would say, "Okay, I don't want to ruin yours or anyone else's holiday."

Once I got there, she'd comment on either my skirt or my body or my hair or my shoes. I would go up to my niece's bedroom and cry. Needless to say, I am sharing this story so you understand if you are anxious around the holidays I TOTALLY UNDERSTAND.

People come to me with different experiences.

  • Some whose spouse doesn't want to do anything.

  • Some who don't want to spend it with one family or another.

  • Some who wish certain loved ones weren't going to be there.

  • Some who are missing their loved ones who have passed.

  • Some who feel as if their family will judge them because they gained weight.

  • Some who are always getting criticized by their family and get upset.

  • Others who just don't feel like they should have to drive for hours and hours for one day.
  • Some invited 10 people and somehow 20 are coming.

Everyone has a different reason for feeling uncomfortable around the holidays but be assured many people experience it.

Here are some stress busters for around the holidays.

  • Be very flexible

    If you are the host/hostess a family member may show up with someone who is vegetarian or vegan, be sure to have one dish does not contain meat. This way you do not have to encounter any unnecessary stress in that situation.

  • Be prepared

    Be prepared for more people to show up than you invited. This might happen, this might not. It's better to have more than less. You can always send everyone home with leftovers.

  • Don't spread yourself thin

    Start realizing it's not in your best interest to spread yourself thin on the holidays. I remember at one point, many years ago, I went three different places in one day. It was crazy.

    I now usually have it in my home and everyone comes to me. That's actually less stress for me but it may be more for you. So, just go one place. Alternate holidays with your spouse's family or invite them too.

  • If someone passed away this year

    If you are missing someone who passed away this year either do something totally different or do something in honor of them. Cook their favorite dish or serve their favorite dessert.

    It's whatever works for you so you feel better. You may want to be reminded of them and you may not. Everyone handles this differently.

  • If you had a breakup this year

    If you had a break up this year or within the last few weeks, of course it will be even more difficult but do your best to just think of it as another day. I know it's a holiday but why do we put so much emphasis on being alone? It's okay if we show up somewhere as a one instead of a two. It's just another day.

    Be happy you are here in the Universe to enjoy it. Be grateful for the opportunity to see family and friends. Do your best to know you are with many loved ones and make every attempt to have a good time.

All in all, the holidays are not always easy for everyone; if they are easy for you, send others positive energy on the holidays. Whatever you decide to do this holiday season, do your best to do as much as you can to stay stress-free or as close to stress-free as possible. Let's enjoy the holidays.

Merry Christmas!!!! Have a great one. Do your best to stay out of stress!

Copyright 2011 Marion Licchiello-Lenz

Marion Licchiello - author

Marion Licchiello-Lenz is a Writer, Self Empowerment Coach and an Intuitive Coach. She blogs for the Poughkeepsie Journal about getting motivated, staying positive, and getting fit.

In addition, you can find her as a feature writer at Country Courier magazine. Her weekly articles follow her accomplishments, trials and tribulations with being, getting and staying healthy - mind, body and spirit.

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