Reduce Holiday Stress by Setting Boundaries

Set Boundaries to Cut Down on Stress this Season

Stress Express; Family FightingThere's no question that the holidays can bring out the best and the worst in people, particularly families.  There's so much pressure to decorate, get the right gifts, prepare for visitors, cook and clean and handle excited children, all on top of work.

So how do you reduce holiday stress?  Set boundaries and say no more often.

• if you're hosting an event at your home, ask those coming to bring a dish or a beverage.  Be specific and clear about what you want.  Don't try to do it all.

Limit sugar intake yourself and for your children.  Sugar just adds another layer of craziness to the stress.

Say no when asked to attend an extra event or make a batch of cookies.  Take care of yourself first.

Ask for help- from your partner, your children, etc.  Ask them to help decorate, clean up, do the laundry, etc. at this busy time of year.

Avoid familial conflict.  If two family members always fight during festivities, speak to them in advance and ask them to avoid each other or be kind.  Tell them if they can't, then they are not welcome in your home.  If they start trouble, they will be asked to leave.  Make it clear your home is a "no fighting" zone.

The holidays can be joyful and meaningful times to celebrate faith, love and hope.  Take care of yourself and reduce your holiday stress by setting boundaries that support you and your peace of mind.

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Overcoming the Stress of Holidays

Stress Express; Family Fighting

You Can Overcome Holiday Stress

All too often the pressure of meals, gift-giving, family dynamics and time management get to be too much.  Here's how to prevent and beat that  holiday stress.
 
• Ask for help. If you are cooking a holiday meal, don't do it all.  Be specific and ask each guest to bring something you need.  It will lighten your load and expense.

 Use your neighborhood grocery- many will make all elements of your meal, or you can buy pre-made side dishes and desserts to save time and hassle.
 
• Do something untraditional- like Mexican or Italian

• Consider not doing the family thing.  A coaching client of mine was dreading the negativity that their family regularly spews at holiday functions.  I coached them to go on a vacation with their children.  It worked out great and everyone was relaxed.
 
• Put the battles aside for one day.  Vow to forgive and bite your tongue and change the conversation when it gets sensitive or controversial.

  

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Stress Free Holidays: Surviving the Family

Let go of expectations and protect yourself. Let’s face it – if your parents/siblings have not approved of you, your choices, your job etc until now, they are not going to change. Accept it and let go of the expectation that they will be different. Instead, protect yourself, focus on what you love about them, keep the conversations light and steer clear of family battles.

At this time of year, there is celebration, anticipation and STRESS!@X$!  As wonderful as it is to get together with loved ones, it can also be a very difficult time for many of us emotionally.  Here are some tips for taking care of yourself.

1. Advance Food Prep- Do as much as you can in advance and even consider

• making dinner a potluck

• ordering the turkey already cooked (many supermarkets like Publix will cook your whole meal)

• not cooking a turkey-having a brunch instead (less work)

• have the family do a service project instead of cooking

2.Alcohol dynamics. In many families, alcohol aggravates the family issues.  Drunks can get loud, critical, mean, demeaning and embarrassing. Think about:

• an alcohol-free meal; use festive hot cider and interesting hot drinks

• serving punch which is lightly spiked instead of offering beer, wine & hard liquor

• serving coffee drinks which have very little alcohol

3. Let go of expectations and protect yourself. Let’s face it  - if  your parents/siblings have not approved of you, your choices, your job etc until now, they are not going to change.  Accept it and let go of the expectation that they will be different.  Instead, protect yourself, focus on what you love about them, keep the conversations light and steer clear of family battles.  If your parent or sibling starts to criticize you, say “This is a holiday- I would appreciate it if you would be kind.  If you can’t be nice, please don’t say anything.”  Then walk away.

4. Before the family comes:

• get lots of sleep- at least 7 hours a night before they arrive

• hire a cleaning person if you can afford it

• take a hot bath with Epsom salts

• mentally shield yourself with a spiritual shield, prayer, protection or light.

• meditate, pray and move into gratitude for your blessings.

Don’t let your family bring you down.  Choose to be positive and loving regardless of their behavior.  And if they are really that dysfunctional, skip the holiday. Go away and be with people who appreciate you.