The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, or so we’re told. For many of us, the holiday season starts a long and arduous holiday stress management tour of duty. But there are ways to minimize holiday stress, especially in regard to attending gatherings. It is wonderful to be invited to holiday gatherings of your family and friends. Maybe you are the kind of person who thrives off a plethora of social events all the time. But, for those of us who feel overwhelmed at the prospect of spending many evenings away from home, here are some tactics to employ.
Ask yourself some key questions before just saying yes to every invitation you receive.
- Is attending considered mandatory? Is attending a particular event something you really need to do? Is this a company holiday gathering that would be advantageous for you to be seen at? A family traditional event you dare not miss? Are you getting the feeling this may be your great grandmothers last holiday? These are the kind of questions to ponder when deciding to say yes. If your intuition tells you it’s best to attend, and doing so isn’t going to cause an anxiety or panic attack, then do say yes. If you know you need to attend a family function, but it is for sure going to feel stressful, feel free to read up on our article “How to Survive the Holidays with Family”.
- Is this something you enjoy or really want to do? A get together with some close friends, while may feel impossible to squeeze in, usually proves worth your time and effort once you are there. Actually, being able to connect with people who really care for you and lift your spirits up, fantastic stress reliever.
- How many other events do you have scheduled either right before or right after?For many people, it’s not certain events that cause unwanted stress, it’s the number of certain events close together, without much downtime in between. Consider this when determining your RSVP to an invitation, and avoid inadvertently saying yes to holiday stress.
- Will attending a particular event require advance preparation on your part? For example, the invite to your neighborhood holiday gathering requires each household to bring a dessert or a home baked dish? If you feel like being Martha for a day and LOVE being in the kitchen, well then you know your answer. But if the preparation sounds like a ton of work you really can’t afford to do right now, pass. It’s okay to pass on a gathering like this, while still being a kind and friendly neighbor.
- RSVP- Make your decision and then respond to the person(s) who graciously extended an invitation. You don’t want the added stress or embarrassment of running into a friend or associate and having them inquire about your presence at an event? Worse, you don’t want to be the hostess wondering how many people you should actually plan on entertaining for the evening. It takes no time at all to provide your RSVP, and it’s surprising how many of us forget this little detail.
Bonus Tip- Have a exit strategy! You’ve made the decision to attend an event, and of course RSVP’d like a polite person. But suddenly while at said event, things have gone south. Have an exit plan or codeword you share with anyone you are attending with, that means TIME TO GO. We love MISTLETOE!
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By Sheryl Staffier: Co-Founder, Pace Counseling Group