Do you look forward to the holidays – making, buying and wrapping presents, cooking a great dinner, having all your friends and family round? Or does the approach of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah or Christmas make your heart sink, your bank account faint, and your stomach feel like lead?

If you have a happy family that you love to spend time with, I’m really pleased for you. If not, here are some tips and tricks to make the holidays more manageable:

1. Stay in the NOW. The stress comes when we revisit the past – that time when Uncle John got drunk and political, or Aunt Sandra interrogated you about your love life – and we relive the pain and/or embarrassment. And then we project it into future, and fear even worse might be in store. Relax: IT’S NOT HAPPENING NOW. Shake it off, have a cup of tea (or eggnog) and count your blessings… which may include living a safe distance away from your family. Plus, even if the worst happens, it will be over by the beginning of January; if you must live in the future, imagine the relief you’ll feel when the holidays are over!

2. Don’t think WHY, think HOW. If you’re like most people, thoughts like “Why do they have to be like that?” or “Why do I have to do this?” will keep running through your mind. “Why” questions never help, because you can’t really answer them in any satisfying way. Instead, focus on HOW: How can I get my shopping done most efficiently? How can I get home and back again with more ease? How can I focus on what I do enjoy, and let someone else do the things I don’t enjoy? HOW lets you focus on the solution rather than the problem. That shift will really make it easier on your nervous system!

3. Whatever you focus on expands for you, so STOP THINKING about what you don’t like and keep your mind on what you do like. A good way to encourage this to reward yourself for finishing specfic tasks. Don’t like shopping? Get as much done as possible in one afternoon, then reward yourself with hot chocolate or a nice dinner. Feel like you’re going to have a hard time with your family? After your main holiday dinner, schedule in a break with local friends. Dreading sending out those holiday cards? Do it online and then go out for a drink – or have a holiday card party with a couple of friends, and have fun doing them together!

4. Break your tasks into manageable chunks. Spend an hour writing down all the things you have to do, then go have a cup of tea to recover. Take your list and divide it up into amounts you can do a day at a time. Put the different tasks on your calendar, and do the biggest ones first, so you can check them off. Take it one day at a time; on a given day, ONLY do that part of your list and don’t worry about the rest, knowing that those things are already pencilled in for a different day.

5. You don’t have to do everything yourself. We assume this about the holiday dinner, but it also works for buying or wrapping presents. Look at your list, and see what you can trade with someone else, because it’s always easier to do things for another person. Can’t find the right thing for your mother? Trade with a friend who can’t figure out what to do for someone on her list. Consider shopping with a buddy, and make it more fun for both of you. If you’re the competitive type, see how fast each of you can work through your list!

So there you go: with a little planning, numerous cups and tea and the occasional break for fun and frivolity, you can get through the holiday season with your nerves intact and your family duty done. Then you get to heave that sigh of relief when January comes around and you’re back home, safe and sound… and possibly with a few great holiday gifts for yourself!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Kyre Adept is a human programming coach bringing spirit into business. Her practice ART of Integration helps high-flyers all over the world create their delicious lives. Find out how human reprogramming can help you soar! Sign up now for your free strategy session at