5 Tips for Surviving the Season of Giving
Well, you made it through Thanksgiving. How's your stress level? Welcome to that time of year when the stress meter breaks. With all the baking, eating, parties, shopping, spending, wrapping and gift giving, no wonder people can't wait for it all to be over. So much to do with so little time is an understatement for many. And oftentimes, with so much expected, some people just want to check out for a month (ala Skipping Christmas and Christmas with the Kranks).
This list is offered to help you manage the stress of the season. Follow these tips, and you just might survive another Season of Giving. And remember to slow down and enjoy it along the way. Christmas is my favorite holiday, despite the stress.
- Don't spend or give to impress, to receive or out of obligation
If you are doing it to impress others or to receive something in return, you're doing so for the wrong reasons. If you're doing so out of obligation, that's not giving, its seeking approval. Know what your motivation is for whatever you do for others. The Season of Giving is about giving, not giving to get. Also, be careful about spending what don't have or can't afford. Don't get carried away and put yourself or your family into more stress by overspending.
- Manage your Expectations & Stress
This is important regarding your expectations of yourself and your expectations of others. Too high of expectations (of yourself or others) causes more stress. They say that disappointment comes from misplaced expectations. If your expectations are out of whack, along comes frustration and usually more stress. Also be careful of perfectionism, it will set you up for more stress. When you notice yourself getting too stressed, don't ignore it. Do something that relaxes you.
- Saying 'Yes' and saying 'No'
Don't say yes to everything. I don't think you qualify as super human. There is a limit to what you can do, so know what those limits are and operate within them. This will help keep your stress in check. And don't rely on the old standby, “I'll sleep in January.”
- Make Memories
This time of year is filled with opportunities to make memories with family and friends. Focus on the present and making the most of the time and people around you. You will always have the memories of the past, just don't get lost in them.
- Do Have an Attitude of Gratitude
Throughout this season, find something to be grateful for. Its easy for us to focus on the stressful things or the negatives and take for granted all of the good things we have. An attitude of gratitude can change one's perspective when stress is around.
Hopefully, these tips will help you find less stress this season. Keep in mind that the Christmas holiday season is the toughest time of the year for some people, for reasons of stress and otherwise. This could be due to weather, family, depression, job, finances, etc. Watch out for those you know and if you notice someone struggling, say something to them and then offer to help. It may be just the thing they need.
For more ideas on surviving this season of stress, check out these links.
Now go survive! And don't forget to find something to be grateful for along the way.
Happy Thanksgiving & Merry Christmas
About the Author: Todd Call, MS, LMFT LCPC Todd is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist and a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Montana (LMFT also in Hawaii and Arizona). He maintains a private practice in Eureka and Kalispell, and conducts workshops with parents who want to improve their parenting and themselves. Todd has been a therapist since 1998 and has worked extensively with teenagers and their parents in residential and outpatient settings. You can find more of his writing at the Uncommon Sense blog. Todd is married and has 7 children (along with 2 dogs, 3 geese, 4 cats and 11 chickens).
Tags: self help