Esther Rodriguez - We All Fall Down
DC Queer Theatre Festival Celebrates Local LGBTQ Playwrights
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Rachel Pike
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Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday


If your past holidays have been full of stress, try something new. Adopt some personal boundaries and policies that allow you to enjoy this time of year in the way that celebrates you and what you value. You have the power to create the holiday experience you want. Have a S.T.R.E.S.S. F.R.E.E. holiday season.

Spend time with people who honor you and your relationship. It’s okay to re-evaluate those obligational dinner stop offs and decide you simply don’t want to go to Aunt Judy’s house because she ignores your new wife or girlfriend and keeps calling her your “friend.” You are a grown up now and you don’t have to spend time with people—family or not—that do not honor you.

Take time out for yourself. It’s okay to take some time to reflect on your own needs and plan your personal strategy for next year.

Rest. When you are tired of the fast-paced holiday season, shut your phone off and binge watch Netflix for an entire day.

Eat. Give yourself permission to relax and enjoy the holiday foods that only come around during this time of year. Stop the need to comment about the fat content or how many calories are in that piece of pie.

Spend only what you can afford. Set a budget for gifts and stick with it.

Start your own traditions. As we build our own lives, start our own families, and create the communities around us, we have a wonderful opportunity to build upon our family traditions and create our own. Create traditions that speak to who you and your values.

Fun should be your focus during this time of year.  Be in the moment and enjoy yourself.

Release guilt. Financial guilt, familial guilt, career guilt, guilt from obligation, guilt from that thing you were supposed to accomplish this year, but didn’t, and guilt from a break-up. If you carry guilt, release it. Forgive yourself and give yourself permission to put down the baggage and start a new year without the emotional weight of guilt.

Embrace what is truly important to you. Spend your holiday season focused on those things.

Enjoy people and not things. We can’t forget that our relationships are what’s most important in life; not just during this time of year, but always.