If I said stress-free holidays are possible, would you believe me? In reality, “stress-less” is achievable, and more honest.
Here are a few free ideas to stress less during the holiday season. No, it’s not too early — it takes foresight and planning.
So, what do the holidays mean to you, anyway? Has the meaning of the word “holiday” become a cause of stress every time you hear it? Do the holidays mean extra activities, shopping and spending money you don’t have? Is that what you call a holiday?
The definition of holiday is personal time off, a break, sabbatical. It’s supposed to mean something like fun.
In a world of 24-7, where fast is faster and money is tighter, we have reasons to be more stressed out, cranky, uptight and freaked out. But a few easy strategies and tips can reframe the meaning of “holiday” for those of you who wish to.
First, have a plan. Think ahead. Last-minute decisions tend to cost us more time, money and add more stress, not less.
Second, have a family holiday brainstorming meeting before Oct. 1. Turn off the TV, cook up some popcorn and pass out colored paper and pens. Think about some new, creative and inexpensive ways to celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa.
Third, assign action items to the entire family. Make up playful job titles — Captain Budget, Chief Inspirational Officer or Dr. Plan-It — and include someone who is delegated to select a local nonprofit that helps the poor during the holidays. This is a sure way to make everyone feel better and refocus your need for expensive gift-giving.
That third one is critical.
Helping others during the holiday season is a sure way to become more stress free. It helps affirm that others have it worse than you — and something really magical happens when we help others.
As for shopping, thrift stores offer a variety of deals; the Dollar Store is one of my faves; and the Internet is filled with free ideas and interesting projects that require little time or money. YouTube has tons of free how-to-make-stuff tutorials.
Having fun and playing games still are the best stress relievers. And if the family joins in on the creative process, everyone has buy-in, which relates to more family bonding and unity — an all-time stress-less benefit.
For more stress-less holiday tips, visit www.creativeworkshopsforachange.com.
- Janet Janssen lives in Felton and is a life coach, certified hypnotherapist and trainer for JWCreativeWorkshops. She offers creative workshops about stress release and mind clutter for individuals and small businesses. Contact her at 335-0553 or firstname.lastname@example.org.