Teri and Tamara have done such a great job sharing ways to decrease holiday stress pertaining to families. I want to share with you some tips to help you keep boundaries with yourself and everyone concerning your time. It is so easy to get caught up in everything, want to do every activity, and go to every event. It is also difficult to say no during this time. But it is important not to crowd your schedule so much that you don't enjoy the peace the season brings. Here are a few tips to navigate that.
Don't give out of guilt or obligation. It is the season for giving, however, if you are giving and giving and feeling resentful each time, you may be over-giving. It is important to pick what is most important to you and what you feel passionate about and give passionately to those causes. Don't get caught in the codependent trap of feeling like you are obligated to give to everything and everybody. That is not truly giving from the heart. That is guilt induced giving.
It is okay to say "No". Just because you have done something every year does not mean you have to do it this year if it will cause you more stress than it's worth. It's easy to get into traditions and do them just because you feel obligated. Traditions are wonderful but should be something that adds to the season, not distracts and stresses you out. Just because someone asks you to do something does not mean you should feel obligated to do it. It is great to help out, no doubt that is important, but if you find yourself overly committed and not enjoying the season, than it may be time to say no!
Delegate! Many who struggle with codependency feel we have to do it all. It is okay to ask others for help and to delegate tasks to other family members and friends. Have someone else help with Christmas dinner this year if you are feeling overwhelmed. Or ask someone else to host this year. It is not a sign of weakness to delegate. You will enjoy the peaceful season more if you do.
Don't be a perfectionist. Those that stress out over having the perfect tree or the perfect decorations or even the picture perfect get-together will struggle finding peace in the season. Remember to set realistic expectations for you and your family. Some of the biggest imperfect moments might be laughed at later years down the road and seen as "perfect moments". Don't take it all too seriously.
I hope you are able to enjoy the season and truly reflect the true meaning this year. Tomorrow Joleen will share some financial tips for you for the holidays. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you!
Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC, LCAC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.