Live Aloha: 3 Ways to De-Stress the Holidays

Finding yourself increasingly anxious once the turkey leftovers and relatives are gone, and every store has switched out their pumpkin piles with a pen of cut conifers outside the sliding doors?

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the consumer-driven details of the holiday season – shopping the crowded malls with a never-ending list, procrastinating on mailing the family greeting card, attempting to decline yet another cookie tray on the break room table, and balancing an already hectic schedule with the growing number of email and Facebook event invites to holiday parties, gatherings, and events.

We do such a good job at keeping ourselves busy that it’s hard to slow down and enjoy the things that bring us real happiness this time of year. TPE has three suggestions for making your end of year truly the most wonderful time of the year:

Stay Family-Focused

From Thanksgiving through New Year’s, many of us gather with our families and our close-knit tribe of friends that’s just as much family as the folks who share our genes. These gatherings can sometimes provide their own stresses with planning, traveling, and hosting details.

Try focusing on what brings you together, rather than the logistical details surrounding the events. Look for and celebrate your connections. Make the time quality time by learning more about each other, laughing together, and sharing stories and rituals.

The holidays provide a great opportunity for us to engage in community in healthy and positive ways. So eat, drink, and be merry, and do it with people you really care about!

Know your limits

A large part of enjoying yourself during the holidays comes from understanding and holding healthy boundaries.

Can you really accept every party invitation? Maybe, but the likelihood of enjoying yourself is small if you run yourself ragged. Narrow your commitments down to the gatherings and the people you care the most about.

Are you really going to buy gifts for every co-worker, cousin, niece, nephew, and in-law? Giving is great, but if it’s breaking your bank and causing you shopping anxiety, simplify! Prioritize your list and give gifts because you care, not because you feel obligated.

Are you really going to engage your father-in-law in a political debate over a Christmas ham and twice-baked potatoes at the all-family gathering? Perhaps it’s a healthy growth opportunity, but maybe find a time and space that works better for that kind of communication, and don’t subject the rest of the family to an uncomfortable dinner. Know what’s good for your heart and mind whether you’re hosting or guesting, and politely hold your boundaries, even if others are inclined to push them.

Giving and Gratitude

Whether you celebrate religiously or not, the December season is globally acknowledged as a time for generosity, reflection, and connection. It’s a time to recognize needs and do what we can to help, a time to consider all the goodness we’ve held and experienced in our own lives and express our gratitude. Peace on earth, good will toward humankind, joy to the world! Studies show that our own happiness increases when we practice generosity and gratitude. However, not all of us have the luxury of extra coin around the holidays to give financially to causes and organizations we would like to support. In that case, perhaps you have other capacities to give, like time or talent. Nonprofits are always in need of caring volunteers!

Additionally, you can support those in need through holiday shopping with The Papaya Exchange. A percentage of our net proceeds go to organizations serving our communities. We will keep you posted on how your purchases are positively impacting our communities and families.

And from all of us at The Papaya Exchange, we wish you a relaxed and very happy holiday season!

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