Do you yearn to be happy around the holidays, but instead find yourself dreading them? Do you have concerns about the craziness, stress, and expectations? Do you worry about the possibility of melancholy or despair at this time of year?
You’re not the only one who feels this way. During the holidays, more than 60% of respondents to a Healthline poll said they were “extremely stressed” or “very stressed.”
“We discovered that 65 percent of respondents from generation X and 61 percent of millennials are stressed over the holidays when we looked at the demographics.” Approximately 62 percent of baby boomers were in the same boat.”
This does not need to be the case.
No matter how long you’ve followed the same unpleasant routine in prior years, you’re not doomed to a lifetime of Christmas misery. You can gradually reverse the effects of holiday stress.
In this holiday joy mini-guide, we’ll look at:
- Getting in touch with what makes you truly happy.
- Saying “yes” to what you want and “no” to what doesn’t.
- Joy is used to replace dread, tension, and other negative feelings.
- And if you enjoy the holidays already, this could make them much better.
Do you yearn to be happy over the holidays but are dreading their arrival? Do you worry about the craziness, stress, expectations, and commitments, as well as the feelings of sadness or depression that may come with this time of year?
4 Steps to a Happier Holiday Season with Less Stress
Create your Christmas joy “plan” by following these four stages. Don’t give it too much thought. You should be able to complete this in ten to fifteen minutes.
- Make an informed decision
If the holidays make you feel uneasy, make a conscious effort to do something different this year.
Make an agreement with yourself.
You don’t have to make drastic changes. Start by removing one or two activities that make you feel depressed or stressed. Choose ones that will make a significant impact in your season’s experience. Then do it again the following year.
Let’s go over them one by one.
- What Makes You Unhappy During the Holidays?
Look back on your Christmas memories and discover what makes you go “ugh.”
Here are a few instances, but there are innumerable others:
Shopping at suffocatingly crowded supermarkets. The specific stores should be named.
Baking holiday treats Which ones are they?
Putting up Christmas lights on the outside of the house.
At family gatherings, getting into confrontations with “Uncle Joe.”
I’m making Christmas cards this year.
I’m overeating. Is there too much food in your house? Are there too many sweets in your house?
You get my drift. Make your own list of the top three to five things that make you anxious over the holidays. Make every effort to be as exact as possible.
Reduce your list of worries to one or two actionable items that you’ll get rid of this year. Remember that making one change at a time is the most effective strategy.
Begin with the very first one. After you’ve completed one task, move on to the next.
Keep a list of your top three to five triggers on hand in case you find yourself with extra time, space, or motivation to handle them.
But don’t put too much strain on yourself. Removing one source of stress will be a huge accomplishment in and of itself, and will help to brighten your holiday season.
- What Makes You Happy During the Holidays and Helps You Relax?
What makes you truly joyful over the holidays? What brings a grin to your face? What do you require for a pleasant vacation? Your requirements are important.
You can make your activities or experiences holiday-themed, but they don’t have to be.
Self-care strategies that nourish you, decrease stress, and bring forth your best, for example. Instead of being a terrible wreck throughout the festivities, you’ll be a blazing light when you’re pleased and rested.
Here are a few examples, but don’t stop there:
- Listening to or singing Christmas songs
- Skating on the ice
- Giving the bell-ringer your spare change
- Volunteering to assist people who are in need
- Seeing your children’s faces light up when they get a present
- Celebrating the holiday’s deeper meaning
- Taking a rest
- Telling a joke
- Giving yourself a massage
- In the snow playing
- Your pastime
- Petting your feline
What brings you joy? What are some of the things that help you relax?
Make a note of your favorite holiday memories, what you’ll need to have a good time, and any activities that will nourish you or relieve tension.
You can make your list as long as you want it to be: ten, twenty, or thirty things. Try to be as inventive as possible. However, avoid setting unattainable goals that will frustrate you.
Then, until January 1st, make a commitment to participate in one cheerful action each day of the holiday season. You can write down your favorite joy ideas and stress relievers on a weekly basis on your calendar as a reminder, switching them up each week.
Both your lists—what to avoid and what to embrace—should be posted somewhere prominent where you can view them every day. This will serve as a reminder of what you actually want to accomplish for yourself this holiday season.
- Master the art of gracefulness “No” is the answer.
There’s one more thing to do.
The holiday season brings with it a plethora of temptations and invitations, oftentimes more than one individual can handle gracefully. If you find it tough to say “no,” it’s easy to be drawn into activities or experiences you don’t need or desire in your already overburdened life.
Writing a “no” script and repeating it has made it a lot simpler for me to say the word in front of real people.
Here’s an illustration:
“Thank you for your inquiry. I’m ecstatic. This time, I won’t be able to assist (or volunteer, give to your cause, work more hours, accept your invitation, have another serving, or whatever else) (fill in the blank). Thank you for your patience.”
Is it necessary to give an explanation for your “no”?
A rationale may be interpreted by some as an invitation to discuss or refute your wishes. You don’t need to defend yourself. It’s enough that you don’t want to do something.
“No is a complete sentence, which we often overlook. We can just smile and say no when we don’t want to do something.” Susan Gregg (Susan Gregg)
If you feel obligated to give an explanation or believe it would be courteous to do so, be genuine while remaining softly uncompromising. Some instances are as follows:
“I require the time to focus on my health.”
“My plate is already overflowing, and I can’t add anything else or I’ll explode.”
“I’m working on living a more balanced life and want (or need) to do fewer things.”
“Your Christmas cookies are delectable, but this year I’m resolved not to gain weight.” Thank you, but please feel free to distribute them to others.”
Now write your own story, one that feels nice, compassionate, and genuine to you. Start practicing your script as soon as you receive it. Get it down on paper so that when you say it, you feel natural and at ease.
Saying “no” may be difficult at first, but it will become easier with practice. So, if it doesn’t work the first time, don’t give up.
Remember that your health, well-being, sanity, stress level, and happiness, as well as your ability to be kind to others, could all be on the line. You have the right to set appropriate limits, especially around the holidays when the demands and expectations can be excessive.
Let’s bring some joy back to the holidays.
The holidays were supposed to be a happy time, a chance to bond with others, feel more at ease, and understand the deeper significance of each holiday.
Instead, they’ve turned into a frenzy of acquiring the best deals, attending an excessive number of get-togethers, and decorating your house and front yard as if you were the artistic director on a Disney set.
What went wrong with us? Let’s make a change.
Please don’t put off tackling this problem till later. The holiday season has arrived in full force.
Why not begin right now?
Make a list of what makes you happy over the holidays and what makes you sad.
This year, get rid of at least one Christmas stressor or downer.
Participate in one cheerful activity per day until January 1st during the holiday season.
Then do it again the following year.
Do your best, have a good time, and spread the happiness.