If I told you to go out and fill your trunk up with stress, you couldn’t do it. This is because a lot of stress is simply created by our thoughts. This means that we often have way more control than you probably think. So, during holidays especially, make an effort to stop creating stress that we actually have some control over.
Make it a Stress-Free Holiday Season
I can hear the groans already… So here are a couple of tips that can make your holiday season a bit less stressed and a bit more joyful!
Be Early and Be Merry!
If you are someone who typically waits until the very last minute to do holiday shopping, make a commitment now to make this year different. Your brain sees sameness as safety, so I totally understand that just this thought could throw you into a frenzy, but hang with me for just a second…I’m talking about the littlest change to make your season a whole lot better. Rather than kill yourself this holiday season, start now little by little to get the job done. This means that you just buy things that you will need as you see them. It also means ending the, “I’ll come back for that” lie that lends to creating more stress as the holidays approach. Buy. It. NOW.
Try being a little flexible in the way you think about it. You don’t need to be “officially holiday shopping” to get a couple of people checked off of the list. I get it if you are looking for a better deal or waiting for a particular sale, but otherwise, go for it! Stash away all of the goodies and gifts that you buy and when you go to get organized for each occasion, it will be like Christmas for YOU when you discover that you’ve already gotten a few gifts out of the way.
Stopping for a coffee? Buy a gift card for your maid. Grabbing some milk? Check out the array of gift cards available near the check out line for stocking stuffers. Need a dress for that cocktail party? Pick up a sweater for your sister, too. You’ll be amazed how much you can get done so early. The kicker is that these early gifts will actually be thoughtful ones since it’s not a last minute obligatory buy. Who knows? Without the stress of the crazy, last minute, hustle and bustle, you may get a chance to actually enjoy the season this year!
Stop thinking about what you have to do. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between thinking about doing something or actually doing something. So, if you’re continually ruminating about decorating the house or planning a cookie exchange, your brain thinks that you have been working on it, and furthermore, getting absolutely nowhere. This leads to the phenomena of thinking that something will be way harder and take longer to complete than it actually will. Ever had the experience of, “Well, that was way easier than I thought it was going to be!”? This is what I’m talking about!
Do whatever you have to do to feel good. When you think about something enough and get no where in completing it, you begin to dread it. Since your brain will avoid anything associated with displeasure or pain, you can be sure it will keep you far from anything that you’re dreading or thinking will be miserable. This furthers the procrastination problem leading to even more stressful thoughts. Are there situations when you can actually choose a happy thought instead? Yay! Holiday shopping! Even if you don’t believe it now, you may need to “fake it till you make it.” A nice mantra to take on is, “It’s easy and I like it!” Don’t worry. We believe thoughts that we think over and over whether they are true or not. Give it a shot. Like I always say, what if it works??
Don’t put everything off until “after the holidays.” No magical time slot opens up after January 1st and if it did, we would all probably head for Mexico rather then finally tackle that cluttered up basement. This is just a set up for a lot to do right at the start of your shiny, new year. That’s no fun. That’s stressful!
See what you can squeeze in during this busy time and you likely won’t regret it. Especially make time for the fun things like ice skating with a friend or caroling with the neighbors. It may sound stressful, but I promise, if it’s something that you think is enjoyable then it won’t be stressful, it will be fun! These visits with friends and fun wintery endeavors are stress busters!
Keep in mind, life is made up of experiences so make sure there are some exciting and fun things scheduled now, today or next week. After all, isn’t this what the season is really “all about” anyway??
I wish you a beautiful, stress-free and fun holiday season!
Much love and light to you and yours,