There are some people who look forward to the holidays all year and can’t wait for them to arrive. Other people enjoy the holiday, but find them to be a strain while trying to juggle all the responsibilities of their regular life, along with the additional shopping, cleaning, decorating, and cooking. Then there are some who find the holidays to be quite difficult. It may bring up feelings of grief and loss, they are simply too overwhelmed with the demands, or are set off by attempting to endure family members who trigger a lot of emotional turmoil and issues.

A survey from a few years ago reported that 45% of Americans would prefer to skip Christmas. Another poll revealed that 50% of people are very financially stressed over the holidays and have a lot of anxiety over getting and giving gifts. Many begin to experience symptoms like disturbed sleep, low energy, impaired concentration, headaches, and much more.

Much of our stress can stem from expectations, especially those that might be unrealistic. Lots of people go into the holidays with the idea that everything needs to be perfect. They think they need to cook up the most fantastic meals, initiate the most interesting and thought provoking conversation, and somehow make sure everyone gets along well and is respectful toward each other. It sounds lovely, but this maybe a set up for failure and disappointment. A lot of these variables are simply out of your control.

If you want a less stressful holiday, consider some of the following. Pace yourself and plan. Don’t procrastinate and try to pull it all off in the 11th hour. Ask for help and don’t try to tackle it all yourself. Get support and be sure to continue taking time for yourself. You can stretch yourself a little, but don’t suffer unnecessarily. Keep those expectations realistic. Set a budget with family and friends to help keep costs contained and let go of the idea that you need to out-do yourself from last year. Lastly, if things are taking too much of a toll, get some professional help and support to get through the holidays.

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