23 Dec 8 Tips to Make the Most of Your Holidays
By Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S.
The holidays have the potential to be stressful, whether it’s extra activities and responsibilities, family feuds or squabbles, cash concerns or shakeups to your daily routine.
But you can absolutely enjoy yourself and have a great holiday season. Here are eight tips from experts on making the most of the holidays.
1. Set an intention for the season.
Master Certified life and career coach Kristin Taliaferro helps her clients set an intention for the holidays, which includes both what they want to do and how they want to be. For instance, they might want to host a party or take a vacation. And they might want to be calmer, a better listener or more present with their families, she said.
When acting on your intention, try to find simple, less stressful solutions. If you really want to host a party, but feel drained just thinking about it, have a potluck instead, Taliaferro said. You get what you want, minus the stress.
2. Have realistic expectations.
Come holiday season we tend to assume that our bratty kids will transform into little angels and our always-fighting families will become the Brady Bunch. “But if [your relatives] haven’t gotten along for the other 11 months of the year, why should you think December will be any different?” said Darlene Mininni, Ph.D, MPH, author of The Emotional Toolkit, who works privately with individuals and speaks nationally on topics related to emotional health and well-being.
We also put a lot of pressure on ourselves to pull off the perfect holiday, with just the right gifts, food, decorations and so on. But setting sky-high and unrealistic expectations only leads to disappointment and distress and leaves you missing out.
“It’s the discrepancy between what you expect and what you get that creates disappointment and unhappiness during the holidays,” Mininni said. She suggested readers take a hard look at the reality of their expectations. If they’re idealistic, “…rethink how you’ll approach this season so you can close the gap between your fantasy and your reality.”
And look at it this way: “Relaxed and happy is so much more enjoyable than perfect and pressured,” said Andra Medea, author of Conflict Unraveled: Fixing Problems at Work and in Families and Going Home without Going Crazy: How to Get Along with Your Parents and Family (Even When They Push Your Buttons).
When things go wrong, that’s when funny memories are made, anyway. “Frankly, it’s a fabulous memory when the cat runs off with the turkey,” Medea said. She recommended Virginia Brucker’s book Gifts from the Heart: Simple Ways to Make Your Family’s Christmas More Meaningful, which focuses on simplicity and love, not perfection.
3. Have a plan for potentially tense situations.
To read full article, visit Psych Central.