As we are getting closer and closer to Christmas we tend to get more and more worked up. This post is about ways to handle Christmas stress (and stress in general). Let me share some tips about setting realistic goals and keeping your Holiday stress levels down. As a momtrepreneur, it’s important to save as much energy as possible. The Holidays is the most stressful time of the year as a business owner.
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The illusion causes Christmas stress
As you might know by now I am approaching negative stress like burning fire. Something we need to put out as fast as possible before it destroys more than we ever can imagine. We easily get carried away by the illusion of the perfect Holiday with glowing Christmas trees, laughing Santas, and smiling kids. Yes, I said illusion. Because much of the concept of Christmas is an illusion made-up in our minds and amplified through media and culture. We are drowning in wonderful commercials showing us how Christmas is supposed to look like and be. This includes how we (as mothers or women) should be. Much of the Christmas stress is originating from the anticipation that we should create the “perfect home” for our family. Old traditions die hard. I hope you do not get bored by me now, I am a gender theorist (yes!) so I know I get tangled in the subject sometimes. Stay with me a couple of sentences more and I explain this a bit more and bring you tools to handle the stress caused by the illusion of Christmas. It is quite easy to take control of the situation if you are aware of the root of the problem.
An illusion is something made-up and unreachable. Yes, unreachable. You are not able to even come close to the commercialized vision of Christmas (I am sorry to say… I know it hurts). This hurt is just what the market aims for. If you always want more, and more and more then they can sell more and more. Get this, get that. Get it all! Put an end to that feeling right NOW. You are good and enough as you are. Without all that… stuff! Don´t let anyone tell you the opposite. This is the key to letting go of the Christmas stress. Recognizing the illusion created by the market, anticipations and old traditions. I promise it is. When you are noticing it, you control it!
Social media and commercials reinforce the illusion of Christmas
Christmas stress often originates from the constructed Christmas illusion that is presented to you on social platforms, TV, and magazines. In reality, you have to create your own Christmas traditions. Take a look at my Christmas boards on my Pinterest with a critical eye. What do you really see? I collect these pics as inspiration but it can easily turn into something else if you are not careful and aware. I want you to learn to notice the “truth” and set it apart from the “illusion”. When you know the difference you can enjoy the fairytale without getting stressed by it.
If you scroll your social you need to know you are only presented with what other people want you to see. The pics are often edited and showing the highlights of the day. The same goes for my social media output. I edit pictures to make them more beautiful and pleasing. Put together in the social stream it looks like everyone has that perfect Christmas with gingerbread houses, decorated trees, happy children, cozy candles and all that jazz. You can cut down stress by critically notice what you see in your feed. I hope you get me here. Stop thinking social media tell you the truth about how Christmas, or life in general, should be. The same goes for TV and magazines, they all show you the illusion too. They often show commercials and sponsored content. They want you to feel you need more things. We often end up trying to convince others we have all those things – as we believe others do. Meeh fail! Many of us do not! Or, most of us don’t. If you follow my blog you will notice this is a topic I often return to. I think this is an essential part of getting better self-esteem.
Keep things simple
If you keep things as simple as possible you can really cut down on your level of Christmas stress. If you do not over-consume things you will not feel economically strained (which is a huuuge factor causing stress). It is ok not to hoard gifts and cook for an army. Try to stay focused on making a budget, and stick to it. It will help you take control of the Holiday situation. Try to start shopping for gifts early and tell family and friends you will keep it simple. Don´t feel terrified! I think your family and friends will feel relieved too (even if they might not show it directly). You can do this. Buy food you really like and actually eat. Yes, actually eat. I noticed much of the food we used to buy was like props just decorating the table. Take as much time off work as you can and cut your time on social media and in front of the TV. Remember where the stress originated from… you get me. Isolate your self from the market as much as possible. Create your own little Holiday heaven were you have control and feel good about yourself. Voilá you get in into a healthy Christmas spirit. You do not have to compare yourself to anyone.
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Here is a short bucket list of things to keep in mind during the Holiday season:
- Make a budget and stick with it!
- People show the highlights of their days in social media. Not necessarily the downsides.
- Stop posting stuff from your home or of your family on social media during the Holidays (then you have nothing to “prove”)
- Do not buy excess stuff. You do not have to prove anything to anybody. Not even your family. You are good as you are.
- Turn off the social media and media in general if you are getting stressed.
- Tell family and friends you will celebrate the Holidays in a simpler fashion.
- Do not feel you have to cook for an army – only cook what you love to eat.
- Spend time together as a family – play board games or watch movies that are not filled with commercials (as Netflix and such).
- It is just Christmas, it is not the end of the world.
- Find alternatives to expensive habits – like me making printables. Get creative!
If you want to read more about stress management and how to handle physical symptoms of stress click here.
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