Taking a Holiday Breather

Taking a Holiday Breather

by Ashley Corbaley

It’s the holiday season, a favorite time of the year for many people. While this is a wonderful season, it is also one of considerable stress for some families. Walking into the store the day after Halloween I was bombarded with Christmas music and everything red and green. Signs promised that black Friday was just a few short days away and that Christmas was just around the corner so I better hurry and buy!

After coming home from the store I had to stop for a moment and take a breather. I was already overwhelmed with the list of things I had to do and the pressure of Thanksgiving and Christmas fast approaching seemed like almost too much.

Dr. Melanie Greenburg, a psychologist from Mill Valley, California has a few suggestions on how to make this time a year a little less stressful for you and your family:

Have Reasonable Expectations

So you want to host Thanksgiving dinner, take the kids to the town’s Christmas light parade and spend an entire weekend baking goodies with your family to give to the neighbors? While this might be a reasonable amount of activities for some, it might be just too much for one family to handle. Realize that you might not get to everything you want to do this year and that is perfectly okay. Take time to pick and choose the things you want to do by making the list of things you ‘Have to do,’ ‘Would love to do,’ and ‘Would like to do.’ Prioritize your list and choose from those what things will realistically fit with your schedule and budget. It might be heartbreaking to miss a few things, but you and your family will be grateful they were not overburdened and were able to enjoy this wonderful time of year.

Practice Gratitude

We can teach our children to be grateful for things by practicing gratitude ourselves. Life doesn’t have to be going perfectly for us to be truly thankful for all that we have in our lives. The holiday season is the perfect time that families can express their gratitude to each other.

“Tis the Season of Giving

No matter what our current circumstances, there will always be people who are worse off than we are. It fills our hearts with warmth and gladness to give. Participate as a family in the season of giving by including every family member in the process. The Huffington Post listed 21 ideas on how to give back during the holiday season. Among them are: calling a friend, bringing toys to a children’s hospital, donate old coats to Goodwill or a local homeless shelter, bringing treats to share with co-workers, and something as simple as smiling at a stranger.

Create Memorable Experiences

Special memories that are created during this time of year are why I love this season so much. Spending time with family as we celebrate the holidays draws us closer together. Beginning new traditions and continuing old ones are wonderful ways to create memorable experiences that your whole family will remember for years to come.

Instead of almost dreading the holidays because of the amount of things to do, take a step back and enjoy the season. Try to make the holidays a little less stressful and a little happier as you strive to implement realistic expectations, gratitude, giving and creating memories in your own family.

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