1. Be realistic and put the notion of the ideal Christmas out of your head. It’s a bit like those pics on Facebook where everybody looks fantastic and happy all the time.
2. Take a break from family arguments, simmering feuds, and unhappy relationships. In the spirit of the giving season, give something that is priceless – your compassion and forgiveness to those you feel have wronged you in some way.
3. Schedule sooner and often. Feeling overwhelmed by too much to do won’t happen if you draw up a schedule and stick to it.
4. Say ‘no’ more often. You can’t do everything. Choose carefully, schedule well and then say no to the rest and you’ll sleep better at night.
5. Give yourself a break. While rushing around the holidays, we often put ourselves last. Give yourself a break this season, forgive your transgressions, and be kind to yourself. That means taking some time out for yourself and your needs, even if it’s just a few minutes of solitude in the morning or before you go to bed so that you can relax, catch up a crossword puzzle or some reading.
6. Be aware of your breaking point. Then stop and make sure you avoid those things in the future which bring you closer to it.
7. It’s okay to ask for help – often and directly.
8. Connect with your partner on the things that matter most. Too many couples get into an escalating tug of war about reading each other’s minds, or keeping score on what happened last year, that they don’t start with a clean slate each year. Check in with your partner and see what his or her expectations are, and share yours.
9. Moderation in all things. Celebrate, but not to the point of excess.
10. Remember your friends. Because we get so busy, we sometimes lose touch with the friends we usually rely on to be our sounding boards. Don’t be tempted to go into a communications black hole and resurface only after the holidays, as such regular communication is often one of those touchstones that keep us grounded.