It’s important to keep in mind that an army of people styled those dazzling photos in your favorite lifestyle magazine, not one mom. Give yourself permission to let go of the need to achieve picture-perfect holidays in your home. Here are five ways to make the holidays less stressful and enjoy what the season has to offer.
Maintain Healthy Habits
With images of tables laden with treats and shop windows emblazoned with invitations to partake, the holidays can lure you into overindulgence. You should treat yourself from time to time, but keep up your regular routine of healthy habits.
Maintain your workout schedule, and plan healthy meals with fresh, whole ingredients. Save the sugary stuff for the special days themselves.
Set Realistic Expectations
Yearning for a perfectly organized and dazzling tree is sometimes unrealistic, and so is achieving a pristine home when you have young children. Let go of perfectionism, and embrace the things that make your home special to you during the holidays. For example, you may have a few particularly cherished ornaments or heirloom candlesticks you bring out only during the holidays.
Treat yourself to one or two new decor items to enliven your home for the holidays. These few pieces can become part of the beloved collection you unpack each year to make your home festive and welcoming.
Wrap in Memories of Lost Loved Ones
You don’t “get over” losing a loved one. Grief weaves itself into who you are, and you carry it with you. If you are without a loved one for the first time this year, don’t try to deny the pain of their absence this season.
Instead, highlight some cherished holiday memories. Bring out holiday photos that include the departed person, and hang a meaningful ornament that represents something they loved.
Be Selective About Traditions
Here’s one of the best ways to make the holidays less stressful: learn to say no. You are not required to accept every invitation, tolerate the obnoxious cousin, or bake 100 perfect cookies for a holiday bazaar you never attend.
Put your energy into traditions you love and that your children enjoy. These activities can be as simple as sharing a cup of cocoa, going caroling, or strolling around your own town square. Simplicity rewards you with less stress and more time for your family.
Set a Budget and Stick to It
Money worries hit most families during the holidays. Explain to your kids that the holidays are more about caring for one another than receiving new things.
Instead of frantically shopping for days on end, volunteer to serve meals or donate coats for families that need them. Your kids will learn to be grateful for what they have and open their hearts to those who have less.
Enjoy a less stressful holiday season this year by putting your energy where your heart is and letting go of unrealistic, perfectionist desires. Instead, give yourself time to enjoy that peace and joy that the season is about.