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5 Simple Steps to Reducing Stress This Holiday Season

5 Simple Steps to Reducing Stress This Holiday Season

On Wednesday, when I sat down to write 7 Ways to Create a Stress-Less Marriage During the Holidays, I had no idea HWC contributor, Kim Hall, was writing this post.

As soon as I received her email letting me know this post had been written, I knew we had a series in the making.

Kim usually writes over at but when she guest posts here for us, I’m the one who is usually to darn happy.

I trust you had a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday, and hope this new HWC series will help usher in a holiday season filled with less stress and more love.

Until Monday…make it a great weekend!

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The Christmas season ought to overflow with peace, joy, and love.

Too often, however, it is overshadowed by stress and irritation at the towering pile of “to do” post-it notes and lists.

I want to encourage you that there is a simple solution though: P-E-R-C.

E-R-C stands for Eliminate, Reduce and Cope, and it’s a strategy I learned from Melissa at Whole 9 Life.  I later added the P, which stands for Protect.

Behind it is a simple and powerful principle of making intentional choices that respect your time, money, and relationships.

Here are five simple steps to reducing stress this holiday season:

1.  List everything you and your spouse can think of that you love, want, or are required to do: Gift giving, attending parties and events, mailing cards, etc.  You may need a calendar to keep track, especially if you have children in school.  Seeing the events on a calendar can be a powerful visual to help make decisions!

2.  Make a first pass and categorize everything with a P, E, R, or C.

Melissa describes the process:

Identify those you can Eliminate, those you could Reduce and those you must simply Cope with. Consider evaluating time, money and accepted obligations all at once; you may be able to eliminate or reduce more stress than you believed. (For example, if cleaning the house on your day off is a big stressor, consider revising your budget to hire a cleaning service. If you’ve accepted too many social requests, prioritize one or two that are the most important to you, and beg off the rest. They’ll forgive you, and you really can’t afford to take on any more right now.)

Protect, of course, is for those to-do’s that are a real joy for you, such as Family Tree Trimming Day or a Christmas Eve service.

This process may take more than one pass as you negotiate the sometimes choppy waters of guilt, pride, obligation, and finance on the good ship Compromise.

If you get stuck, create a Pro and Con list to help guide your decisions.  You can also ask yourself: Would I enthusiastically add this to my seasonal events if it wasn’t there already?

3.  Create a master list and/or calendar of the items you choose after going through this P-E-R-C process.  Creating the master list with your spouse allows you to put in writing what you will do and what he will do, allowing you to successfully divide and conquer.

4.  Find reasons to be grateful for the Cope items.  Intentional gratitude will help these items pass more quickly and joyfully, as opposed to responding with cries, criticism, and complaints, which will magnify your annoyance. Need help getting to grateful? Start here.

5.  Savor the season. :-)  Remember there will still be busyness, as well as obligations that aren’t exciting, but intentionally choosing how to spend your time and being grateful for everything will ultimately reduce stress and increase joy.  And really, isn’t that what we’d all like a little more of this holiday season?

 Question: How will you use P-E-R-C to help reduce stress this holiday season?


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Kim Hall

Kim Hall created Too Darn Happy with the mission of helping you find happiness in all circumstances through the encouragement of faith, the practice of gratitude, and the discovery of joy, all spun together with fresh perspectives, practical advice, and a personal touch. She recently authored her first ebook, Practicing Gratitude and Discovering Joy-30 Days to a Happier You.

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