[Written by Peter Nielsen].
The final week before Christmas can incur an amazing amount of stress. ’Do I have presents for everyone?,’ ‘I’m really looking forward to Jerry’s party, but I’m just so tired.’ ‘I haven’t made cookies yet!’ ‘I really miss my mom … or my dad … or my sister.’ The joy and companionship enjoyed this time of year is a true blessing, but it can come with a price. You can minimize the stress that accompanies the holidays and enjoy them more than ever! You may even be able to spread a little more cheer!
• Be realistic. Set realistic expectations. We are barraged with ‘things’ we need for the ‘perfect’ holiday everywhere we go. Remember the true meaning of the holiday. Choose a few special traditions to continue and allow new ones into your lives. If you’re separated from loved ones during the holidays, celebrate together with videos and pictures. If you’re technically savvy, try opening your present together via Skype!
• Share the Peace on Earth. Set aside differences with family loved ones. Be patient and understanding if others are upset or distressed, or something doesn’t go as planned. The holidays may be even more stressful for those around you.
• Budget. Decide how much money you can afford to spend before you go shopping and stick to it! If times are difficult, give homemade gifts or baked goods. Donate to a friend or family member’s favorite charity in their name.
• Plan. Plan ahead for shopping, baking, and visiting. Make shopping lists for baking to avoid multiple last-minute trips to the store. If there are too many events for your schedule, plan on the important ones and take on the extra activities when you can enjoy them — and be enjoyable company!
• Pay attention to your health. Holidays can become a time of over-reaching self-indulgence. Get plenty of sleep and stay active…it will pay off in the long run.
• Take some time for yourself. Put aside a little time for rejuvenation … your loved ones will be thankful. Go for a long walk, relax with your favorite music or read that book you bought 2 weeks ago! After spending some time recharging yourself, you find yourself more productive — and lovable — than ever!
• Volunteer. Many charitable organizations are also suffering due to the economic downturn. Find a local charity, such as a soup kitchen or a shelter where you and your family can volunteer. Participate in a giving tree or an adopt-a-family program. Helping those who suffering may help you put your own struggles into perspective. Sharing the goodwill of the season is a good way to brighten the day for yourself and others.
• Accept your feelings. If you’re away from loved ones, or have recently lost someone close to you, it’s normal to feel sadness and grief, especially during the holidays. Take time to express your feelings. Look for community, religious or other social events.
Try a little planning and you’ll be amazed at how a little planning and positive thinking can help you find peace and joy during the holidays.
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[Written by Peter Nielsen].