Deal with Holiday Stress

As the holidays approach many of us have anxieties that can steal our joy and stop it from being such a happy season. I too find the holidays difficult, my family are 5000 miles away and I wonder if we will ever spend a Christmas together again. I have found a number of ways to cope and want to share them with you.
Everyone’s struggle is different and can include; feeling lonely, overwhelmed, concerns about money, stressed with too much to do and not enough time. Others are dealing with issues around food and alcohol and may feel under pressure by being surrounded by an abundance of it. And then there is that difficult person that you have managed to avoid all year and will be forced to sit around a dinner table with.
Some of these problems may not be easy to avoid, the way to deal with them starts in your own head. Here are some things to think about.
Everyone else is going through their own stuff too.
The person who is holding you to impossibly high standards is you.
There is no law that you have to cook a perfect turkey, buy gifts that everyone likes or get along with people that you don’t normally.
You will never please everyone; no matter how hard you try.
Your family and friends probably won’t remember the perfect table decorations or gifts, they might remember that the host was stressed and bad tempered.
 
Here are some strategies that may help.
Practice gratitude, think of all the things that you have that others don’t.
Learn how to  meditate, there are lots of resources to teach you how,  put simply, sit, breathe, think about your breathing and allow your thoughts to float away .
Focus on what you want to happen rather than worrying what might. Visualize your holiday the way you want it to be. There is lots of evidence that visualization works .
Accept that people are not their behaviors and the reason they are being difficult may be because of some deep hurt in them.
Practice being your best self.
Smile! studies have shown that practicing smiling even when you are not feeling happy can cause you to feel more positive.
Give to someone in need or volunteer at a homeless shelter, helping someone else is a great way of deflecting from our own problems.

I hope the holidays are everything you would wish for.
Feel free to comment and share your own strategies.