With Christmas fast approaching, many people are feeling stressed by the expectations, shopping and obligations that come with the holiday season. While it’s important to give of yourself, it’s equally important to engage in some extra “self-care” during the holiday season. A variety of issues cause stress during the holidays, including overspending, social obligations (parties, decorating, cooking, hosting), gift buying, travel, and family. Depression is the source of stress for many, particularly those who are alone during the holidays, and those dealing with the death or illness of a loved one, or a recent divorce or separation from family and friends.

I’d like to share a few strategies for dealing with stress this holiday season:

1. DECIDE WHAT WORKS FOR YOU

Decide what is most important to YOU this holiday season. Then center your holiday around it. Just because your friends’ idea of Christmas is elaborate gift giving and 10 parties in three weeks, doesn’t mean you have to do the same. Do what works for you.

2. PLAN A BUDGET

If you haven’t finished shopping, take time to plan your gift budget and stick to it. Don’t feel pressured to spend money you don’t have. If you do, you’ll have a bad financial hangover in January. It’s OK to tell people you are cutting back this year … they may even be relieved to hear you say it because it will take the pressure off of them, too!

3. REMEMBER THE “REASON FOR THE SEASON”

Remember that Christmas is a religious holiday by not allowing commercial expectations to take over. Since Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Christ, take time to incorporate a spiritual tradition into your holiday celebrations such as Christmas Eve or Christmas day church service. Some of my favorite childhood holiday memories are going to church at midnight on Christmas Eve and searching the sky for Santa and his reindeer during the ride home. 🙂

My Challenge To You:

Take Action!

This month, stay focused on what’s most important and you’ll find that stress will be the furthest thing from your mind.

Power Question:

What causes you the most stress during the holidays? What could you do to alleviate it or reduce its impact on you?

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