Texas Living

More joy, less stress

By Kristy Alpert 11.25.13

Tis the season to be jolly. Unfortunately, in many cases, the presence of obligatory or unplanned houseguests, the pressure to buy the perfect gift, and the underlying expectation to dazzle one and all often leads to a season to be utterly stressed out.

Even with Aunt Sally and Grandpa John stopping in for a surprise visit, the real unwelcomed visitor over the holidays is stress. This unruly houseguest can put a damper on your family’s merry memories if you’re not careful. Here are a few simple steps to keep your holiday merry and bright … and, more importantly, stress free!

  1. Embrace change. Most cherished childhood moments over the holidays were memorable because they weren’t planned or expected. Out of the ordinary doesn’t have to mean out of control, and a simple burned ham could be the start of a new tradition of breakfast cereal for Christmas Eve dinner your kids may even continue when they’re grown.
  2. Say no. Time is precious over the holidays. While it can feel “right” to spread yourself thin during this time of year, no one will remember how much you did or didn’t do; but they will remember those stress-free moments spent by your side. Prioritize your time and consider asking for help when necessary.
  3. Give nontraditionally. From gifts the whole family can enjoy together like movie night baskets filled with candy, popcorn, and DVDs, to Groupon passes for a date night out to charitable donations in the family’s name, giving to the group will not only cut your shopping list, but it could also save you money.
  4. Stay regular. Maintaining a normal routine (getting enough sleep, exercising, etc.) over the holidays will keep you sane and healthy, and can be a means of stabilization during stressful or uncomfortable travel situations.