We are officially approaching the Holiday season. Halloween is over and we are all nursing our sugar hangovers and now before we know it we will be facing Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. As happy as the holidays can make us, there is a fair share of people who find this time very stressful. Instead of celebrating and enjoying yourself, you're dreading the crowd and worried about what to cook because everyone these days seems to have a food aversion. Part of you thinks it would be much easier to throw in the towel, order Chinese food and watch "It’s a Wonderful Life" for the umpteenth time. 

You are not alone in your feelings. Between traveling, all the money spent, the cooking and seeing people you would rather not see; the holidays are one of the most stressful times. It really shouldn't be though.  It should be a joyous time. What if you made this year a relaxing and enjoyable holiday?  What if you threw your obligations out the window?

 

This sounds completely crazy, but sometimes it’s the obligations we keep that make us the most stressed. After all, we aren’t doing something because we genuinely want to, we are doing it because we feel obligated and don’t want to feel guilty. Sometimes it is better to start a new tradition that fits your life better. It’s not necessarily something you need to do every year, but try it out and see how you feel. One of my most memorable holidays is when my grandma’s oven stopped working and we had to roast hotdogs in the fireplace. It definitely wasn’t the traditional turkey dinner, but I will remember that holiday for the rest of my life. If you haven’t made your holiday plans yet, here are some alternative ideas to consider:

 

 

Stress and the Holidays

  • Go on vacation. Sometimes it is cheaper to fly directly on a holiday than before.
  • Have a potluck holiday. Why burden yourself with all the cooking? Have the guests bring their favorite dish.
  • Instead of traveling to see family, stay at home and have a Friendsgiving. Invite friends over that have no plans and celebrate together.
  • Work in a soup kitchen or go to a nursing home and talk to the residents who couldn’t see their families.
  • Go out to eat the holiday meal instead of cooking it yourself.
  • Instead of making a giant meal, make crockpots full of soup and appetizers and play games.

Now if you have already made your plans this year and you’re starting to panic, here are some tips that may help:

  • As stated above, make your dinner more potluck style, so one person doesn’t have to do all the work.
  • If your family/friends are prone to arguing, make a rule that certain subjects that stir up emotions will not be discussed, i.e. religion, politics, etc. I am all for a civil debate, but I don’t want to hear a heated argument on Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton while I am trying to enjoy my third piece of pumpkin pie.
  • Make plans to do something fun and/or relaxing after the holidays. Go to a spa, get a massage, rent a cabin in the woods.
  • Wine. Enough said.
  • If all else fails, just try to enjoy the day as much as possible. It is only a few days out of an entire year.  You might as well make the most of it.