Man sitting in front of Christmas tree

Christmas Stress and Holiday Have-To’s

3 Things to Know About Christmas Stress and Holiday Have-To’s (and How to Avoid Them) The holidays can be full of Christmas stress and “have to’s.” No matter what our personality is— extrovert or introvert, party-person, or home-body. I have to go to the company party. It would be rude if I didn’t show up. We have to go to my mother’s house for Christmas Eve. She expects us. I have to make everyone’s favorite type of cookie. I’ve always done that. We have to invite cranky Uncle Ted to Christmas. He’s family. Does any of that sound familiar? If you’re like most of us, you could probably add a dozen more have-to’s of your own to the list. Here’s the thing with obligation guilt; however: We do it to ourselves. Don’t believe me yet? Here are the only three things you need to know about minimizing your holiday obligations this year. One: Obligations are never imposed on us without consent. This may not feel true yet, but the fact is that obligations are never thrust on us. Obligations are, in fact, choices we make ourselves based on information we believe to be true. Take Tom, for example. He believed that if he didn’t spend Christmas with his family, he’d let everyone down. He didn’t want to spend Christmas at his parent’s house, but he assumed that not showing up would, in some way, be worse. In effect, it was easier to “suck it up and go” and deal with the Christmas stress than it was to confront his parents with a change in plans. This lack of choice may feel very real to us, particularly when it comes to our closest relationships. We hate to disappoint, hate confrontation, hate to cause confusion, or pain. But here’s the truth: We always have a choice in how we respond to a person or situation. Even though our choices may disappoint others, they are still our choices to make. Two: Obligations are internally imposed. To understand this second fact, you first must understand the psychological process of obligation. It goes like this: 1. We receive an invitation. 2. Our inviting host expresses their hopes or expectations for the event. 3. We internalize their hopes and expectations as our own. Did you catch that? We have an uncanny ability to take on the expectations of other people. The reason we do that is …

Avoid the Holiday Meltdown

  Want to know how to Avoid the holiday meltdown this year? We’re talking about the holiday meltdown to hopefully set in new habits for the next holiday. People struggle with the holidays because they’re so focused on pleasing others. There’s this fantasy that you’re going to hurt somebody, or someone is going to be angry or upset because you didn’t give them what they wanted. Children need to learn that they’re not going to get everything they want for the rest of their lives, and adults should certainly be able to handle this. Let go of that fantasy, and see what really happens. How to Handle the Holiday Meltdown Start talking about the problem or the holiday meltdown in advance. Ask yourself, how the holiday went last year and what you can do now, to avoid the holiday going bad. People get stuck in thinking they have to do a tradition or they’re going to feel bad later. You can not fix a future problem later. The thought process, ” If I don’t see them now, then I am going to feel bad or guilty later.” You are going to feel guilty and sad later because that is a part of life. What Causes the Holiday Meltdown? There are feelings that people have labeled as bad, and feelings that people have labeled as good. There is no such thing. Anger, sadness, neediness are all normal. If you already have issues with these feelings, during the holidays they will get worse. If you think you can’t feel sad any other day of the week, you’re definitely going to think you shouldn’t feel sad during the holidays. That is nonsense, feelings don’t take a hiatus during the holidays. You have to allow yourself the time to process that emotion, whatever the enemy emotion is. There is absolutely nothing wrong with saying, I am going to go take a walk, or a nap, to get that feeling processed. If you can do this in advance, even better! Be Prepared Maybe you get sad about the loss of a parent every holiday, or a child who can’t come home. Go ahead and say this in advance to your family members. Such as, “It turns out I get sad during the holidays, I am going to go ahead and take a break on Christmas Eve to have some time for myself.” Get this all …