Holiday Cheer or Stress?

Holiday Cheer or Stress? Take control this season. The holidays are weeks away but the joy and stress of this season is already being felt.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Planning is a key to having cheerful holidays. Whether you are traveling, having visitors or don’t have any plans, there is no getting away from the persistent marketing and festivities this season brings. Seasonal schedules, parties, gifts, foods, decorations and family and friends all come together this time of year. Unfortunately, real life isn’t always like reel life when it comes to everything going smoothly and happy endings. Holiday related depression is a genuine condition which affects millions of people. This is a nice time to invite someone you know who is alone, to a meal. Holiday travel and weather delays can frustrate many people who need to get to where they are going.

Tips to Minimize Stress

~Recognize that a lot of stress is self-inflicted. We can’t control the weather or transportation schedules, so take lots of deep breaths and have a plan B or C.

~Start early and get organized.

~Shopping throughout the year is helpful and we still have time before it all kicks into high gear.

~Use technology. If you can shop online, have the item wrapped and delivered, you’ve save yourself a lot of time.

~Know your boundaries with certain family or friends. Be honest, but kind in letting them know what you can and cannot do and stick to it!

~With older guests, consider how much stimulation is too much. Will they have a caregiver with them or will you be arranging for an aide during their stay? Do they have or need assistive devices (walker or wheelchair)? Are there special dietary considerations? Religious considerations or safety considerations?

~Older parents and loved ones cannot host a holiday meal any longer but want to. Consider catering it or make the list of who is bringing or responsible for what. If they are staying with you, remember that they are away from the familiarity of their own home and routine. Medication or meal schedules need to be adhered to.

~Because the goal is for everyone to enjoy themselves, accentuate the positive. Reminisce about previous happy occasions, if traditions can’t be continued in the same way, acknowledge it, try to keep one or two traditions and take a positive approach to creating new traditions.

Planning, Communication and Patience

Are you the elder, Florida relative hosting out of town family, keep in mind that your guests are “on vacation” as well as visiting. If one parent or loved one is physically or cognitively impaired, then be up front with your visiting sons and daughters of what you may “expect” them to help out with. When there has been considerable change in a parent’s condition, let the visiting relatives know ahead of time. They don’t need to have a shock of a worsening condition when they arrive.

With planning and a lot of honest communication, some of the stress of having “perfect” (which doesn’t exist) holidays can be replaced with joy of loved ones spending this special time together. Be sensitive to what the holidays mean to certain family and friends. If a loved one passed this year or around the holidays, understand that there is longing and sadness too. Perhaps incorporate the lost loved ones into the conversation. It is a busy time of year and societal pressures add to the pressure. Simplify, discuss, delegate and enjoy however and with whomever you celebrate.