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You Are Not Martha Stewart!

Martha stewartSetting realistic expectations this holiday season.

The holidays are important to us, we want to make them special for everyone. However, our expectations of what the holidays should be like are often influenced by media.

We are constantly being fed images of beautifully decorated homes, extravagant dinners, and perfectly composed families. We suddenly start believing this is what the holidays should be! But is that realistic? Keep in mind, Martha Stewart has a staff of about 420 people. You have a friend, maybe an excited child, and probably a less than enthusiastic partner to help you execute your plans.

Therefore, the key to truly being relaxed, stress free, and happy this holiday is to keep your expectations realistic.

Finances: Keep finances in check. Make a budget for gifts and write down your anticipated expenses that may include travel, food, and special traditions. Remember to set a bit of money aside for those unexpected expenses. Making your list allows you to see what you really have available to spend this season and can help avoid unwanted stress over finances. Most importantly, remember what is important. Quality time with our loved ones is more important than receiving expensive presents.

Scale Back the Decorations: It’s okay not to deck EVERY hall! Everyone says they love holiday decorations because it puts them in the spirit. However a recent survey revealed that more than 1 out of 3 stress out from holiday decorating and almost half of those surveyed sayd that decorating is more about competition among neighbors than holiday spirit.

As you look at those boxes and boxes of holiday decorations, give yourself permission to just grab the decorations that mean the most to you. Keep it simple. If you feel you want to add a couple of things throughout the holiday season, get them from the attic one at a time. Chances are you will happy with just your original small selection. And just think – there will be less to put away at the end of the season.

Emotions Happen. Even though we would love to only feel happiness and love during this time, the holidays can often trigger sadness, anxiety and other negative emotions. It is important to recognize that negative reactions or emotions may occur and that is okay. Give yourself permission to feel those emotions and let them pass. Acknowledging your emotions can help you cope with the stressors that may arise.

Plan Ahead. You may be concerned about seeing someone at one of your gatherings that may lead to a difficult conversation or an awkward situation. Before going to that gathering, put yourself in a positive mindset. Focus on good memories and what you have in common. Plan activities or games that will inspire fun and positive communication.

Be Flexible. You may have an image of what the holiday should be like based on past experiences. However, understand that as time goes by people change and circumstances change. You may not be able to recreate the holidays of past. When making plans, be certain to voice your desires but also listen to your friends and family members. Be prepared to compromise.

It is important to take some time to plan for the holidays. We challenge you to select at least 2 of the tips above and put them into action. Let’s focus on a stress free and relaxing holiday.

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