The holiday season can be a joyous and fun time of year for the whole family. However, it can also be a stressful time for a lot of people. As we get older, changes in health and mobility can add undue stress during the holidays. Here are a few suggestions to help minimize your stress.
If your situation has changed since the last holiday season, it is a good idea to let people know up front what they can expect from you. For example, if you feel that a family event may be too long to endure in its entirety, tell people in advance you will be leaving early. If you are hosting an event, be clear on what time you expect it to finish. If you have made adjustments to your diet, make sure people are aware of any food you can no longer eat. Be open and honest about any concerns or constraints you have, to minimize uncertainty and unnecessary stress.
Traditions are a big part of many people’s agendas during the holiday season. It may be difficult for seniors to take part in all the same traditions as they did when they were younger. Try to focus on the traditions or activities that are the most important. Targeting a few meaningful traditions or activities, will allow you to truly enjoy them without having to worry about fatigue or other complications. If you have a certain dish or dessert you traditionally provide, but don’t feel up to the task, try asking for help from a family member or suggest making it a ‘team’ effort. The key is not to worry about perfection, or a replication of previous years. Concentrate on enjoying and getting the most out of this season.
Having to buy and wrap gifts for numerous people can be time consuming and stressful. Keep it minimal. Use the in-store gift wrapping service or use gift bags to avoid wrapping everything yourself. Alternatively, try shopping online to avoid crowds and worrying about transportation and facing the cold. Gift cards are also an easy, practical gift. Less is better to avoid stress!
Make sure to designate some time to yourself during this stressful period. Make it a priority to take breaks in between shopping and other activities to give yourself time to recoup and recharge. This is an essential practice to ensure you have enough energy to participate in and enjoy your favorite holiday activities. To avoid exhaustion, always take help when it is offered. It not only eases your burden but allows you to spend a little extra quality time with a loved one.
If you feel like you are starting to get stressed out, try one of these stress reducing suggestions:
- Go for a walk
- Take a nap
- Watch or listen to a comedy show (laughter is the best stress killer)
- Listen to music
- Think positive thoughts
- Keep your schedule light, and stick with your normal routine
The holidays are meant to be enjoyed. Keep it simple, stay relaxed, and try not to overdo it for optimal satisfaction!