Our hearts know that the holidays are a time for loved ones - but our minds tell us that they're a time for gift-giving, decorating and entertaining.
It can be stressful.
The American Psychological Association offers these tips to reduce stress and make the most of the season:
- Have realistic expectations. If finances are tighter this year than last, don't plan to provide the same level of giving or entertaining. If your kids' wish lists exceed your budget, encourage them to think of the holidays as a time to serve others, and encourage them to request less for themselves.
- Volunteer. Take time as a family to volunteer at a food pantry or shop for families in need. Being aware of the reality of tough times can put your own position in perspective.
- Make time for yourself. Carve out a few hours to relax and do something you enjoy. When you feel rested and mentally recharged, you will have more energy to tackle your to-do list.
- Talk about it. If the weight of the season is bringing you down, talk with family, friends or a counselor. Being open about your feelings can help reduce anxiety.
Remember that the holiday season is what you make it. Focus more on spending time with loved ones and less on how modern media makes us feel. After all, the (often free!) memories you make are more important than the gifts you give.
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