Dr. Paulette Sherman

Reduce Holiday Stress

Reduce Holiday StressDoes hearing that ‘ring ting tingling’ holiday season coming send you into a tizzy and make you stressed instead of happy?  Well, you aren’t alone.  45% of Americans would rather skip Christmas.  Many people feel stressed about the lack of time during the holidays, the money required, getting gifts and all the gatherings.  Women stress more than men because many take on more responsibility for gift-giving and meal prep.  Here are SEVEN WAYS out of this trap:

  1. Decide What the Holidays Mean to You- Context is king. Instead of looking to family and society to direct your holiday, take time to think about what you want. What aspects of the holiday do you most enjoy and why? Let this be your guide when making choices.
  2. Focus on the Positive– The trying parts of the holiday can rob us of joy. You can’t be in a state of fear and love at the same time. To choose love, focus on abundance, gratitude, joy and fun; then, this is what will grow.  Let all spring from this state and practice returning to it.
  3. Make a Realistic Plan– You’re only one person so it may be wise to get help or tone down the expectations. You can delegate tasks to your husband, sister and kids this year, go out or order in. If holidays mean togetherness, so can holiday prep!
  4. Learn to Set Limits & Say No– Energy and time are finite so practice declining invitations gracefully and set limits on the time at events. You can let a person know that you appreciate them by sending a card or just telling them.
  5. Practice Great Self-Care– You are the Source of all you do. While you’re running around giving to everyone you may be running yourself into the ground. Gift yourself a massage.  Take time each day to meditate or use a deep breathing app.  When your mind spins, say, ‘This too shall pass,’ and remember that a few days aren’t worth your sanity.
  6. Be Proactive & Think Out of the Box– Just because everyone is braving long lines on Black Friday doesn’t mean you need to. Shop on-line for everyone’s gifts in one night so they arrive at your house, wrapped. Make a list and pay a babysitter to shop for you, make a few personalized gifts or give outing IOUs.  Look at things in a new way to free yourself.
  7. Stop People-Pleasing– Do you hate social and family gatherings because you fear being a disappointment? Maybe your aunt will call you out for not being married or for gaining weight.  A family friend may hate their gift or extended family may spend more on the grandkids.  Remember, you don’t have to be like everyone else or adopt their habits.  Your challenge is to love and accept yourself even when others don’t.  Practice saying, ‘I completely love and accept myself.’  It will make life easier and everyone will have a more loving, relaxed holiday.

Bio:  Licensed Psychologist Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman practices psychotherapy in Manhattan and does life coaching by phone.  She is the author of ‘The Book of Sacred Baths,’ ‘Dating from the Inside Out’ and 19 other books, which have been translated into 6 languages.  Her latest book is, ‘Facebook Dating: From 1st Date to Soulmate’ available on Amazon Kindle.