The holidays are a magical time of lights, decorating, music and gatherings. There are gifts to be given, dinners and desserts to be eaten and friends and family to visit. But on the other side of all the magic, holidays can also bring stress, family arguments, sleepless nights etc. All of which can leave us wishing to just bypass the whole season and jump to regular routine of everyday life. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the holiday season you are so not alone! I am so glad you came across this blog.

As a society, there is a lot of emphasis on doing it all and even having a picture perfect holiday. This mentality can lead to burnout. As human beings we have a need for rest, it is okay to not do it all. Give yourself permission to change your expectations.

I’d like to encourage you to take a step back and reflect on your core values for the holiday season. Ask yourself what is the top priority? Is it spending time with family, is it decorating, a certain activity perhaps? What are one or two things that would be a non-negotiable for the holiday season and what are things that can be let go of.

Take some time after self reflecting to invite your partner or immediate family to join you in creating holiday family core values. Give space for each person to share what is most important to them and see how as a family you all can create a road map for the season.

Next get specific with your values, if it’s spending time with family what does that actually mean? Is it a few dinners, for how long will you stay? Discussing the specifics and

getting super detailed ahead of time provides a way for everyone to be on the same page. This eliminates surprises and keeps things running smoothly.

When invitations come during the holidays and other people expectations arise, go back to your holiday family core values. Do they align? Is there space in your schedule? If not you are allowed to graciously decline. This will create space for you to say yes to what you will really enjoy which will in turn energize you and create a more peaceful holiday atmosphere.

Take some time today to implement this practice and have a wonderful holiday!

By: Michelle Thomisee, MSW, LCSWA

Throughout December, we are focusing on how to manage holiday stress. If you or a loved one need professional support, our counselors at Mathews Counseling are available for appointments. Request your appointment today!

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