“Oh my goodness! Those pies look delicious, but holiday baking stresses me, in fact the entire holiday season totally stresses me out!” This is how I was greeted, when recently, I showed up to our church’s Thanksgiving event with my pies.
Please, look at the pies one more time. The one on the left is my very own recipe for sweet potato pie with a top crust of hand-roasted almonds and mini-marshmallows browned to a light crisp. The creation shown right is another of my original pie recipes, a baked chocolate cream pie topped with whipped mascarpone and a variation of hand crumbled milk and dark Lindt German chocolate. I hope you can feel the love that went into making these pies!
The pies are only two beautiful reasons that the holiday season is a magical time for me; I get to do so much of what I enjoy, like inventing my own version of culinary treats. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy helping and inspiring people. I enjoy singing and I crave purposeful action. It is no surprise at all that one of my secret love languages is making special meals for other people, whether at my home, their home or the local city mission. The more I do the things I really enjoy, the more enjoyable everything else becomes and I find that I have much more peace and less stress.
You can also have a stressless holiday by absolutely adhering to this one little tip: stress less and enjoy more!
Hey, was that a cynical laugh that just rose up from the depths of your belly?! Ok, I get it. In the heat of the moment, the rush of traffic, the madness of end of year projects, the duality of the joyful, cheery holiday season and the exhaustion of trying to take it all in, it is not always easy to remember that tip and that is precisely where practice, practice, practice comes into play.
I want to make it easy for you to practice (thank me later), so I have taken the liberty of giving three very common examples of real-life* situations that might be particularly stressful during the holidays. Each example is accompanied by a simple question to ask yourself, that can help you take the stress out of the situation be slightly shifting your perspective.
Choose the example that fits your stress-test occasion and learn to create less stressful experiences and happy endings for your holiday stories:
(*Obviously, these examples are from the real-life of… a good friend and not my own in any way.)
1. Aaaghh! I would rather be beaten with a big stick than go to my office Christmas party!!
If you don’t want to do something, either don’t or figure out what you are getting out of the exchange that is motivating you to do that thing. Ask yourself…
QUESTION: Since I am responsible for my actions, why have I chosen to do this? / What am I getting from this that I am not ready to give up?
2. This is such a stressful time because we have a huge year-end project at work, the office party and all our even so distant relatives converge on us at once!
Honestly, if a giant meteor strikes and all is lost, both that project delay and that visit from nutty Aunt Esmerelda will start to seem much less stressful. Ask yourself…
QUESTION: What is the worst thing that can happen and what boundaries can I create and install to lessen the chance of that happening?
3. Ok. I accept responsibility, that I agreed to [insert bad idea here] because it was the easiest way to end the conversation. I still don’t like it!
Whether it is taking the lead on that project because you hope against all odds it will get it done faster or again hosting the annual 3rd Advent Sunday reunion tea at your place because “it’s bigger”, getting it done has just gotten you one day closer to that holiday resort where you’ll be spending New Year’s Eve with your burning hunk of love.. Oh yeah! And… you always get nice gift boxes of chocolates from the tea party. Ask yourself…
QUESTION: What positive impact can result from this (completing a task, project, a family visit, etc.)?
The best way to stress less including during the holidays is to focus on what makes you happy and what you enjoy and include more of that in your day. For those occasions when that is really hard to do, use the questions given here.
What causes you stress during the holiday season? How do you deal with it?
Need some help with that?
Post your comments and specific questions and I will respond with tips to address your issue.