This week, we have shared some really helpful tips so far in ways to decrease Holiday stress, which helps each of us to enjoy the Holiday season better. Today I'm going to go over ways we can continue the tradition of giving during the holiday season without stressing ourselves and our bank accounts.
Tip number 4 is to watch your spending. Many times, we will spend excessive amounts of money we don't have (or can't afford) in order to please others. People pleasing through excessive spending not only is unnecessary, it can cause you so much more distress on down the road (e.g., conflict with your spouse and added stress when credit card bill come due, if people don't have the gratitude you hoped and your hidden expectations set you up for disappointment, etc.).
Along with spending excessive money during the Holidays, we also see many individuals who set themselves up for stress and disappointment when their expectations of presenting themselves as the "perfect family" arise. Don't feel the need to have the perfect family portrait and Christmas Card, the perfect Holiday party with friends and family, or the perfect gifts. Remember that the Holidays are a time of shared memories with family and friends, and giving can mean giving of your time and self, not necessarily expensive gifts and lavish parties. Give hand-made gifts that also give a little part of yourself and your family to those you love (cookies or treats you make with your kids, a hand made ornament from your family). Offer an act of service to someone as a gift later on in the season (5 separate times you mow their yard in the spring and summer, re-potting a neighbors houseplants or helping them in their garden the following season).
There are many ways to be creative with gifts that aren't expensive, but give the gift of self, and continue to give throughout the year. Above all else, remember the true meaning of Christmas this Holiday season. Wishing you and your family stress-free and Happy Holidays from Imagine Hope Counseling Group!
Joleen Watson, MS, LMFT, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.