One key to avoiding holiday stress is knowing that it is okay to say, “No.”
It is no news that on the scale of psychological stresses, holiday stress ranks near number one. Why is that? As you probably guessed, there are many reasons- finances, our and our spouses’ expectations, and—often the biggest—family. It could also be that this year has been physically or financially difficult for you. If this is the case, the holidays might bring dread rather than joy.
However, saying yes in situations when you should say no can leave you overwhelmed and feeling resentful. Sometimes it's best to just say, “No, I’m not participating.” Your colleagues, friends, and family will understand if you can’t participate in every activity during this period.
I read this many years ago in one of my favorite life simplification books. Yes, this could be the right solution for you. Sometimes, one of the healthiest things we can do is to choose not to participate in chosen—or all—holiday activities.
Psychologists will be the first to tell us that, as adults, the most stressful things the holidays bring are our own expectations, that they will miraculously do something for us that they can’t. So, some people will choose to travel, go away for the day, or simply be by themselves.
What keeps you happy and healthy is exactly what you should do!
Others seemingly will suffer through anything, and complain about it all the while. This is how you stress yourself out! Yet others embrace the season with joy. Whatever it is for you, start by making a healthy choice. Like everything, keep in mind it is a choice.
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