Photo Credit: @dostiephoto

When we were kids, an approaching holiday season meant time away from school and homework, delicious meals, and visits with your favorite relatives. The season was one of happiness and joy. As an adult, the experience can be quite different. The children are home from school and creating messes, someone has to cook those delicious meals, and some of those relatives require an entire hospitality staff to occupy their time. It’s a season full of stress and anxiety.

Remove some of the hassles and dread out of the holiday season this year. Whenever you feel your patience beginning to fray and your nerves start to sizzle, mentally running through the following concepts will help you remain calm and retain mental clarity.

Perfection is merely perception.

We all tend to operate under the assumption that if things aren’t perfect then they won’t be enjoyable. The fact of the matter is that perfect is impossible. Everyone’s idea of perfect is different, so belaboring to please everyone is more work than your mental health is worth. You may be concerned with table settings and dinner schedules and entertainment, but your family and friends might be just as happy with genuine smiles and an honest effort. Perhaps to them, perfect is enjoying your company in a low-key environment.

There’s comfort in tradition.

Its human nature to want to create bigger and better events year after year. We have an infuriating need to want to top our former selves and impress guests and relatives with the “best holiday ever.” Every. Single. Year. Fortunately, this is quite unnecessary. Find comfort in the fact that if something was amazing last year, it will be amazing this year. Don’t be afraid to stick with recipes you know the family will like or give gifts that aren’t more expensive than the ones you gave last year. Giving yourself permission to stick to a tried and true tradition can eliminate a lot of unnecessary stress over the course of the season.

It’s okay to say no.

The holiday season is demanding. It seems as if almost everyone wants something from you. You must remember that it is okay to say no…to anyone. You aren’t required to attend four holiday parties in one weekend. You don’t have to buy your child every last item on their wishlist. You can choose not to participate in the church bake sale or the Black Friday girls day. Your mental health is just as important as any of those to-do items on your list.

Take the time to think about which holiday tasks mean the most to you (keeping the above mantras in mind), and prioritize them. Label the rest optional in your head and say no if you find yourself lacking mental clarity or feeling overwhelmed.