Stress-Reducing Tips for the Holidays

The upcoming season presents numerous instances for increased anxiety during a flurry of holiday-related activities.  As you’ve probably seen time and time again, your sweet companions can be rattled by your own elevated levels of stress.  Fortunately, there are some specific steps you can take to cope with the demands for your time and energies, to make the holidays merry for you and your pets.

Be sure to plan ahead, to reduce the likelihood of last-minute decisions, which often infuse activities with an unnecessary sense of urgency.

Take advantage of online shopping, so you don’t have to leave your companion animals alone for extended periods of time.  And try to take care of multiple errands during each trip.  You’ll not only save gas (and therefore, money), you’ll also spend less time away from home. 

Consider planning more events at home, so your companion animals can be a part of the celebration.  If you plan to have many visitors in your home, consider keeping your dog on lead inside the house.  You’ll be able to keep an eye on her or him at all times, reducing the likelihood of possible injury amidst a gaggle of unfamiliar feet.  Additionally, keeping them close-by may reduce your pet’s level of stress.  Alternatively, if you have an anxiety-prone dog or cat, consider confining them to a safe zone (like a bedroom, or even their crate) for the duration of in-home celebrations.

Leave a note on the front door reminding visitors not to allow your pet to run out of the house.  Nothing puts a damper on festivities like turning a holiday party into a search party.

To cope with heightened expectations of visiting family members, take time to consider how you might simplify the preparation and execution of seasonal parties and gatherings.  For example, instead of a menu of eight items, prepare only five.  Or, combine family and colleague get-togethers.  By simplifying, you’ll help to eliminate some performance pressure off yourself, and thereby, your whole family.

Don’t try to do everything yourself, but rather assign specific tasks to other family members, even your children.  You may be surprised at how seriously they take on the new responsibilties, and they’ll learn a lot in the process.

Remember that nothing is perfect – striving for perfection in all of your celebrations can have the unfortunate effect of increasing stress, not only for you, but for the rest of your family.

By implementing just a few of these measures, you can reduce stress for you and your companion animals. 

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Posted: 11/26/2008 at 04:28 PM
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Posted: 11/26/2008 at 04:28 PM
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