It’s no secret — the holidays can be some of the most stressful times of the year. However, you can eliminate or, at least, reduce the stress by channeling your thoughts and emotions in a positive direction.
1. Waiting in long lines at checkout. It seems like no matter that line I select, it’s the slowest one in the entire store! We’ve all been behind the man at the head of the line who picked up the only sweater in the store that didn’t have a price tag, the new employee in training, or the woman with four items, but she forgot to get milk. Of course, the milk is all the way at the back of the store and the sweet checker pages someone to bring it to the woman while everyone else in line waits. Instead of steaming or glaring at the offenders, try one of these tactics.
Solution: Pick up a magazine and start reading an article. Read the short articles in the tabloids, they are so ridiculous you can’t help but smile or laugh. People watch–this can be entertaining! Play a game on your phone— Scrabble, Candy Crush, keep your favorite game handy for times like this.
2. Finding a parking space. Sometimes you’re lucky, and you find a space close to the entrance and you don’t have to play Mario Andretti to get there first. On those occasions when you find yourself at the back of the parking lot with a two-mile walk to the door (yes, that’s an exaggeration), be prepared.
Solution: As you drive to the store, mentally prepare yourself for the back-of-the-lot parking space. Think about the holiday calories you’ll burn as you walk. If it’s especially cold, keep the scarf and gloves handy and layer-up. Vow that you will not let another rude, aggressive driver spoil your day—let him/her win the parking space challenge. Please don’t leave anything on the seats, put all items in the trunk or cover with a dark blanket if you don’t have a trunk
3. The item you have to buy is not available. You reached for the item, but someone else grabbed it first. Or, you couldn’t get to the store when the sale started, and they are out of stock. You’ve called all over town, and no one has it. Maybe you are an 11th-hour shopper? Whatever the case, it is what it is.
Solution: If having this gift on Christmas day is really important, try finding it online and pay for rush shipping if necessary. Another option: a gift card. Buy the card and write an entertaining story about how your efforts to secure the perfect present. Make your excuses humorous, if it’s for a younger child weave pictures into the story. Cut out pictures and descriptions of the item. Offer to take the recipient shopping for the gift, if they accept set the date now.
It’s Christmas! Do your best to cultivate a positive frame of mind. Plan ahead. Make the choice to be grateful and happy—it feels so much better than grumpy.
Relax, drink hot chocolate, eat popcorn and watch a Christmas movie. How the Grinch Stole Christmas, It’s a Wonderful Life, Elf, or your personal favorite. Enjoy the season with fun, laughter, and, of course, gratefulness.
LaDonna Greiner is a writer, life-long student of gratitude, and the founder of the Gratitude Is Great movement. Her book series, 21 Reasons to Say Thank You, provides various audiences with the tools and practical guidance needed to help them express gratitude and appreciation to others through handwritten notes and other activities. Learn more at www.21ReasonsToSayThank You.com.