It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year – so why are you so stressed out? There are parties to attend, gifts to buy, and special dinners to host. There are also long lines and crowded parking lots, too many gifts and not enough money, and that tiny guilty feeling that just wants Christmas to be over. Even those of us who think Elf Buddy is our spirit animal are guilty of Grinching-out in December, and it usually hits right about now. Don’t give up – put the brakes on the Christmas crazy train, keep calm, Christmas on, and keep the peace of the season in your mind.
🛍Manage your expectations
There will be lines at every store – download Candy Crush and annoy all your Facebook friends while you wait. Someone is going to steal your parking spot at the mall – park toward the back and reward yourself with an extra cookie for those extra steps on your Fitbit. Your child will suddenly decide that she hates Frozen – after you’ve finished her shopping for everything Anna and Elsa. There will be small annoyances that add to your stress levels this season, so instead of letting them build to frustration, do some mental readjustment. Have the expectation that it’s going to be busy and a little frustrating. When you go to a store, have your list and objective clear. Sometimes simply mentally preparing for a distasteful situation can make all the difference in how you feel about it.
🎄Trim the tree – and the “fluff”
Instead of gift exchanges that have gotten a little out of hand, focus on doing less this Christmas. For large families, consider drawing names or just buying for the kids, if it’s not too late. If you know you’re already committed to an extensive gifting list, consider giving baked treats, candy, or a bottle of wine instead. By choosing not to spend a week agonizing over Uncle Fred’s Leatherman or nose hair trimmer, just get ol’ Fred a box of candy or bottle of scotch. For your children’s teachers, a large tin of cookies and a handmade card from your child is thoughtful and heartfelt (and no one wants another “World’s Best Teacher”) mug. Make efforts to reduce your material obligations, and you’ll be surprised at how much your stress levels ease.
🤝Give back during the Season of Giving
Find a place to volunteer, instead of just chucking a toy in the donation bin. Even an hour of bell ringing for the Salvation Army is enough to not only help those less fortunate but also reset your own inner peace. When we focus on the needs of others, rather than our own cares and concerns, we actually become less stressed. Your brain releases dopamine (the happy chemical) when you do a good deed or help others. This “reward” will help keep you centered and calm while you give the gift of yourself, and remember the meaning of Christmas.
When your Christmas list is out of control, when you feel more like the Grinch, or when you’re so exhausted by Christmas Day that you can’t enjoy the festivities, you need a Christmas Calm intervention. Take some time for a little R&R after a busy shop, let go of some things that don’t really matter, and put others first in a way that doesn’t involve your credit card. You’ll regain your peace and sanity, and be able to truly enjoy this magical time.
Check Out Community Christmas Day Dinner For Details and Volunteer Opportunities
Check Out Hands On RVA For Details, and Volunteer Opportunities
Check Out FeedMore For Details, and Volunteer Opportunities