3 Tips For A "Stress Less" Holiday
When you think about the holidays, do you smile, cringe or a little bit of both?
The holidays mean a time of hope. It’s the end of the year, a time where we begin to think how we want the following year to be like. Our mind starts to think about goals, and what we want different in our lives.
In order to create goals, one must have hope. Hope is the catalyst of goals because it is the thought of wanting something different of which is foreseeably seen as possible to happen. There are other ways that hope manifests during the holidays, and this is a general feeling that things just have to be better around the world, in our neighborhoods, and within our families.
Around the world, we hope for peace. Within our neighborhoods, we hope for tolerance and a sense of community as evidenced by all the different tree lightings, holiday parties, and cookies with Santa.
Holiday songs are all about being “merry” and “happy,” and the beats are cheery. All ornaments have vibrant colors, and everything is in abundance, such as food, gifts, etc.
They also bring families closer to celebrate together. There are family traditions to follow, dinners, baking, cooking, games, gift exchanges, and religious traditions as well.
But what about the holidays bring mixed feelings?
For starters, the holidays can be stressful just because of all the events one needs to attend, and all the extra shopping and cooking that needs to be done. Stress magnifies emotions, so if there is any negative feeling associated with the holidays, the stress will augment them.
Moreover, being hopeful can be anxiety provoking when thinking about HOW things will be different. Dreaming is freeing, but the difference between a dream and a goal is having a plan, so crafting the plan can be nerve wracking. After all, we are talking about breaking habits or pursuing dreams that have not happened before. Change can be a wonderful adventure, and at the same time, scary. It’s okay to experience both, but avoid letting the fear win.
The whole thing about hoping things can be better and different is also anxiety-provoking. How much did we think and do about having more peace around the world and more tolerance and sense of community in our neighborhoods? Within our families, we sometimes spend the whole year not being in contact with certain family members and relatives, and then we get together for the holidays many times HOPING that things will be better. But they are not. There is a lot of HOPE placed in expecting different relationship dynamics during the holidays. We see this dramatized in so many movies, don't we?
Here are some tips to smile more and cringe less during the holidays:
Reduce the stress as much as possible. How can you do this? You can divide and conquer tasks with your significant other, relatives, and friends. If you love shopping, offer to do the shopping in exchange for the other person doing a different task for you. Reconsider what must really be done, and which events you really want or need to go to.
When planning your goals or resolutions for next year, create the plan but don't focus on the end result; instead, know that you only have to make the right choices one day at a time to reach the goal. For example, if your next year goal is to lose 30 lbs, think of ways you can make this happen (i.e: eat healthier, exercise more, work on emotional eating through therapy), but know that the 30 lbs will go away if you make the right choices one day at a time.
Lastly, during these holidays, hope but “hope smart”. What do I mean with this? When hoping that something will be different, think of what you can do different to make the situation better, and avoid thinking what the other person should do. Focusing on your own actions rather than other’s is liberating because that’s the only thing one truly has control over: Oneself. The other person will either adjust, or not change, and if they don't change despite of your efforts, then acceptance becomes the next viable solution to let go of the problem.
So in short: reduce stress, take it one day at a time, and "hope smart!"
I wish you and your family a time of smiles and laughter during these Holidays.
From Your Therapy Friend,
Sofia Robirosa is the owner of Infinite Therapeutic Services and is a Relationships & Parenting Expert. She offers individual, couples, and family counseling to individuals seeking to enhance their relationships. Her private practice is located in Plantation, FL. She attended Nova Southeastern University for both her Bachelor and Master Degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy and in Business Administration. She is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Leader in Active Parenting for children and teens, an evidenced based program. She is also a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). She is a passionately committed therapist, who thoroughly takes pride and joy from her job. She enjoys working with a culturally diverse population and is bilingual in Spanish and English. She is a member of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and an active volunteer of the Broward Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves her family, which consists of her husband, daughter, and two dogs. Some of her interests outside of work include spending time outdoors, traveling, and dining. Read more about her at: www.infinitetherapeuticservices.com and follow her on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/infinitetherapy/