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The Holiday Season: The perfect time to leave "The Stress Club"

Hello, my dear friends! As we find ourselves once again wrapped up in the whirlwind of the holiday season, it's all too easy to feel like we've unwittingly renewed our membership in a club we never wanted to join. Yes, I'm referring to the infamous Stress Club 😫

In the Stress Club, members are those who feel guilty for taking 15 minutes for themselves amid a hectic day. They're the ones who juggle overwhelming responsibilities with little or no help, and those who lie awake at night planning for tomorrow's chaos. Ring any bells? You're not alone.

In our society, stress has become so normalized that we often feel obliged to wear it as a badge of honor. But it's time to reject this notion. It's time to stop participating, take back our power, and live our own lives. As we navigate the holiday season, let's make a concerted effort to leave the Stress Club.

The Holiday Stress Phenomenon

Why is it that the holiday season, which is supposed to be filled with joy, peace, and goodwill, often ends up being a hotbed of stress and anxiety? There are gifts to buy, meals to plan, family dynamics to navigate, and often, expectations to meet that seem to skyrocket during this time of year.

But here's the thing: these stressful scenarios are not obligations, but choices. Choices that we've been conditioned to believe are necessary aspects of the holiday season. We've been taught that, to do it right, we must do it all.

And that's where we're wrong.

Exiting the Stress Club

In "The Stress Club," we learn to reframe daily challenges and change our entire approach to stress. Let's apply those principles to the holiday season.

1. Reframe Your Expectations: Who says you have to cook a five-course meal for Christmas dinner, or buy expensive gifts for everyone you know? These are expectations we've created for ourselves based on societal norms or past practices. It's time to reframe these expectations. Maybe a potluck dinner is just as enjoyable, or perhaps handmade gifts carry more heart.

2. CHOOSE! (Sorry for the screaming - but this one is SO important 🥰). Ask yourself this list of questions and then choose accordingly:

a. How do you shop: online, with friends, late at night, at WalMart, the mall? Then do that!

b. What do you want to buy: gift cards, handmade, local wares, creative? Then do that!

c. What boundaries do you need to set: time alone, keeping your bedtime, limiting social events? OK say it with me: Then do that!

Listen, I am ALL about serving and giving to others. But if we do that to the total exclusion of our own mental wellbeing, nobody benefits - right?

3. Prioritize Self-Care: Never feel guilty for taking time for yourself, even (or especially) during the holiday season. Whether it's 15 minutes to read a book, an hour for a yoga class, or a quick walk around the block, prioritize these moments. They are not selfish; they are self-care, and they are essential.

4. Delegate: You don't have to do it all. Delegate tasks among family members or friends. It's okay to ask for help.

5. Practice Mindfulness: Instead of lying awake planning tomorrow's chaos, take a few minutes to practice mindfulness. Focus on your breath, the warmth of your bed, the peace of the moment. This can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep quality. Here are 2 meditations I do:

A Stress-Free Holiday Season

Leaving the Stress Club doesn't mean you're doing the holiday season wrong. Quite the opposite. It means you're choosing to enjoy the holidays in a way that doesn't compromise your well-being.

You can cook a meal without fretting over perfection, buy gifts without breaking your budget, spend time with family without absorbing everyone's emotions, and fulfill your responsibilities without forgetting to take care of yourself.

Remember, it's not about doing it all—it's about appreciating it all. The twinkling lights, the hot cocoa, the laughter, the love. These are the true joys of the holiday season, and they have nothing to do with stress.

For me, this has been the best holiday season in awhile. Why? I’m volunteering. I used my

great grandmother's plates at Thanksgiving because that’s special to all of us. I shopped early, with my daughter, in an enjoyable way. I bought gift cards for those not closest to me. I'm listening to music and drinking pumpkin spice hot cocoa and looking at the lights.

I don’t need to compete or be perfect. Neither do you.

So, this year, let's unwrap the gift of peace and bid farewell to the Stress Club. After all, who needs a club membership when we can have a joy-filled, peace-packed holiday season? Now, that's a trade I'm willing to make. Are you?

Let's exit the Stress Club together and embark on a journey towards a stress-free holiday. Because the holiday season is not about doing—it's about being. Being present, being calm, and being joyous.

Happy Holidays, friends. Here's to a season filled with more joy and less craziness.


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