It can seem that every Christmas commercial showcases the perfect family having the perfect Christmas with smiling faces and fancy houses and presents in abundance. Meanwhile the commercial of our own lives often includes the arguments and frustration, the one family member that tends to start drama, the struggle to maintain a budget and the Turkey that is still frozen. The reality doesn’t sell products. So how do you cope? How do you find joy in the chaos?
Here’s a few simple tips that might help keep the merry in your holidays or at least keep the grinch at a distance.
1. Set reasonable expectations. Don’t pressure yourself to have the best of everything and that everything goes exactly according to your plan. Instead have a general idea of what will happen specific to what you will do and be okay with that. Others will do what they do - you can’t control that.
2. Plan what you can ahead of time. Last minute shopping and cooking and wrapping quickly can become overwhelming and frustrating. If you pace as many things as possible out over days and weeks those last few days won’t seem as stressful.
3. Create a budget and stick too it. Be honest with yourself about what you can afford and hold yourself accountable. Your stress will be lower when you are not worried about debt.
4. Focus on traditions and add new ones. Your children will likely not remember that toy under the tree but they will remember you reading a Christmas story as you snuggle under a blanket drinking cocoa. They will remember leaving cookies for Santa. They will remember times shared with you. Your love is the greatest gift.
5. Take breaks from the festivities - a walk, some flag football, or just a few moments of silence staring at the tree can calm the nerves.
6. Finally remember the meaning and focus on the love. In the end it is all that really matters.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and happy holiday season
The mental health team at HicksStrong