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How to Have a Stress Free Holiday

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How to Have a Stress Free Holiday

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Although any holiday can become a time and stress management challenge, even the busiest person can create a stress-free holiday feeling with a little forethought, flexibility and creativity.

Here are four ideas that can help.

1. Start with the outcome you want. Before you begin to prepare for a holiday, vision the end of the day. What is the feeling you want to have when the holiday is over? Peace, joy, a genuine sense of connection with family and friends? While you are feeling those positive feelings begin to picture the actions you took to get that outcome. You may find that there are many activities you have done in the past to prepare for a holiday that do not contribute in any way toward getting the result you want. In fact, there may be some things you would normally do, that stress you so much they actually get you the opposite of what you want. Be flexible and focused. Select only the actions that have the best chance of creating the holiday feeling you want. Example: If you have to work on a holiday, rather than trying to squeeze the celebration into a shortened time frame, pick another day when everyone can relax and celebrate together.

2. Decide what’s most important to you about the holiday. Is it food, gifts, decorations or connecting with others? Focus your time and energy on the activities that are most meaningful. Simplify or eliminate some of the traditional holiday tasks, so meaningful moments can stand out. Examples: Streamline decorations; buy cookies instead of baking, put gifts in bags instead of wrapping.

3. Be a receiver. It is as blessed to receive as to give. Allowing others to help you prepare for a holiday gives them the opportunity to feel good too. So much of your stress can come from trying to do everything yourself. Even though you are capable of doing it all, that may not be the best choice. You can ask for help not out of deficiency, but rather out of generosity in knowing that others will feel good helping. Example: Make your holiday meal an opportunity for each family member to contribute their signature dish rather than doing it all yourself.

4. Save money, give meaning. The gift of time and care can be more treasured and valuable than a purchased present. Sharing your time or talent is rewarding for both giver and receiver. One year I took up a neighborhood collection for the family of a sick child and asked a neighbor, dressed in costume, to deliver the cash. The family never knew from where the gift came. This is still my favorite holiday memory! Examples: Give a coupon for babysitting, spring yard cleanup, a picnic dinner… Be creative.

Create the holiday feeling you want by deciding on the outcome first, being flexible, selective and creative about choosing the tasks that serve your outcome, nurturing yourself and others by asking others to participate in holiday preparations and sharing your special gifts of caring in creative ways.

I’m envisioning more stress-free holidays for you and your loved ones!

This was originally published in Avoid Medical Errors Magazine, a free digital magazine.
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Aila Accad

Aila Accad, RN, MSN is an award-winning speaker, best-selling author and certified coach and EFT advanced practitioner, who specializes in quick ways to release stress and empower your life. A member of the National Speakers Association, she is a popular keynote speaker and radio and television guest. Her bestselling book “34 Instant Stress-Busters, Quick tips to de-stress fast with no extra time or money” is available at www.stressbustersbook.com Sign up for De-Stress Tips & News at www.ailaspeaks.com and receive a gift, “Ten Instant Stress Busters” e-book.

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