My Five Principles for Surviving the Holidays

dog wearing reindeer antlersBy Scott C. Bauman, CAPP

As the year end approaches and the holidays are in full swing, I am reminded of a few important principles that have helped me survive this crazy time of year.

  1. Don’t forget to celebrate family. Spend quality time with your family. Loving families keep you grounded and provide an important support structure, so don’t forget to celebrate them. Spending quality time with family during the holidays is priceless, so don’t waste precious family time–celebrate it!
  2. You don’t always need to buy stuff or spend money to be merry. Marketing firms and the media force-feed the hype that you must buy stuff to celebrate the holidays. The constant sales pitches and the forced sense of urgency to buy are powerful and unending. This can cause financial and emotional stress that can ruin the holiday spirit. While giving and receiving stuff is nice, just remember it’s not a prerequisite in celebrating the holidays.
  3. Don’t let politics divide. Holidays bring extended family together and can open political debate, seemingly more so in recent years. If there are heated political differences within your orbit, don’t waste quality holiday time and energy debating it; life is just too short. Besides, see principle No. 1 for what you really should be doing instead.
  4. Don’t sweat the small stuff. As they say, it’s all small stuff! Keeping a balanced perspective on the values you hold tight all year can greatly reduce holiday stress and anxiety. Focus on the big picture and only on positive things within your control.
  5. Civility is important. Treat everyone with respect, no matter the emotional conditions or circumstances. During the holidays, it’s infinitely more important to be tolerant of others. Fighting over a parking stall, for example, is just not worth it. Treat others how you want to be treated and you won’t ever go wrong.

If you find yourself in a position where you’re stressed out or feeling overwhelmed about the holidays, just remember to apply the above basic principles to help you survive. They work for me.

Scott C. Bauman, CAPP, is manager of parking and mobility services for the City of Aurora, Colo.