HOW TO KEEP THE PEACE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON
With the holidays approaching, you’re more than likely in one of two camps, either really looking forward to them, or awaiting them somewhat anxiously. The holiday season is busy and can be full of financial and relational stressors. With a hectic calendar and social tensions mounting, it creates the perfect recipe for an emotional whirlwind.
But it doesn’t have to. You can embrace this magical season with your sanity and relationships in tact when you follow a few simple steps.
Establish your boundaries ahead of time. Understand what stresses you out ahead of time and set hard limits such as time frames at particular parties or where you will allow your family to go. Plan beforehand which conversations you will have and which ones you’ll politely say, “let’s change the subject” to. Having boundaries established at least in your mind helps you feel more in control and comfortable in certain scenarios.
Always ask for help. Especially when hosting group events, it can be overwhelming, and if you aren’t brave enough to ask for help, you’ll end up feeling used and exhausted. When planning a party, learn to speak up early about what you need. Maybe it’s family members coming over beforehand to help set up or others bringing dishes to pass. Whatever you need, don’t hesitate from voicing it before you feel overwhelmed.
Offer your help. Likewise, be sure to offer help whenever possible. If another is hosting an event, be sure to let them know you’re there to help. You don’t want someone else stressed out or upset with you, either. Be generous with your time and your dishes to pass to help ease another person’s load during the festivities.
Learn to say no. You are asking for stress and anxiety when you pack your holiday schedule so tight, there’s no wiggle room and you don’t have a chance to slow down and breathe. So simplify, streamline your calendar, say no to events that, in the long run, don’t matter. Don’t buy for the office Secret Santa and participate in the cookie exchange. And never, ever spread yourself too thin.
Prioritize traditions. The holidays aren’t the holidays without traditions, and you have to learn which ones are most important to you and your family. You shouldn’t constantly give up these special traditions to save face with friends, coworkers, and extended family members. When something conflicts with your schedule, learn the tactful art of saying “I’m sorry, but we have something else on the calendar for that night,” and move on.
Express yourself. When you feel your emotions starting to rise, it’s the perfect time to express them before they snowball and cause you to make a scene. Don’t wait until your temper is boiling over. Instead, coolly and calmly pull the offending party to the side and address the situation head on before it escalates.
Always find moments of quiet. If all else fails, you need to give yourself time for quiet and reflection. When you’re in tune with yourself, you will be better in tune with others as well. Start your mornings off with a book or quietly journaling. Go get coffee by yourself. Spend an evening at home instead of going out. Take time to take care of yourself and the holidays will run much smoother.
The holidays don’t have to be stressful. In fact, for many of us, they’re the most magical time of the year. With these simple tips, you can keep the peace this holiday season and enjoy the time with friends and family.