How do you prepare for the holiday season without making it stressful?

“Preparing for the holidays conjures up to-do lists that include: shopping, cooking, travel and a myriad of external chores that we perceive must get done. This is the root cause of holiday stress. While I understand that tasks do in fact have to be completed, the reality is that we choose a mindset that is charged with expectations that tap our energy and leave us stressed out.
A wise mentor once told me, ‘Expectations are a premeditated opportunity to be disappointed.’ Perhaps you find yourself thinking, ’If I am to survive the holidays my only choice is to buckle down and get’er done.’
Or perhaps you choose the opposite reaction ‘abandonment’ where you tell yourself ‘Forget it! I am not participating this year.’ Either choice is a struggle polarized by an ‘all in’ or ‘all out’ mindset. What is needed is balance. The classic coaching question that invites people into balance is simple yet powerful.
Ask yourself:
What do I need to say yes to and what do I need to say no to this holiday season?
The moment you stand in choice about how you take on the holidays, you stop ‘doing’ the holidays and start ‘being’ part of the holidays.
The essence of the word holidays was derived from ‘holy’ days meaning: days that are set apart and revered.
Stop. Choose. Set yourself apart from the to do’s that steal your joy. Instead of doing what is expected simply become expectant.”

– Nicole Greer, owner, The Vibrant Coach, Sherrills Ford

The Mayo Clinic offers similar advice:
• Acknowledge your feelings. You can’t force yourself to be happy because it’s the holiday season.
• Reach out. If you feel lonely or isolated, seek out community, religious or other social events. Think about volunteering.
• Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect or just like last year.
• Set aside differences. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all of your expectations.
• Stick to a budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with gifts.
• Plan ahead. Set specific days for holiday activities.
• Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed.
• Don’t abandon healthy habits. Overindulgence adds to stress and guilt.
• Take a breather. Make some time for yourself.
• Seek professional help if you need it. If you feel sad or anxious, irritable and unable to face routine chores, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.