Do you get stressed-out around the holidays? These easy tips will help you relax and actually enjoy the holidays.
This week marks the beginning of 24/7 Christmas music and, not gonna lie, I look forward to it every year. I look forward to the holidays in general. I love the hustle and bustle, crowded shopping centers, decorations, friends and family and yes, the constant Christmas music too. The joyful anticipation of the holiday season is easy when it doesn’t come with impending stress.
This is our 8th (or maybe 9th) year that we have enjoyed a stress free holiday. We decided that the toll holiday stress was taking on us wasn’t worth it. We started saying no to more and changed overly complicated and demanding expectations to keeping it simple. Guess what,
family and friends still had a wonderful time…with less.
According to a class song of the holiday season, it’s the most wonderful time of the year . . . It’s the hap-happiest season of all. Right. Or is it? The holidays are certainly a happy time for most of us, but the stress of the season can make many look forward to the time the holiday season is over instead of enjoying it.
According to the American Psychological Association (APA),
- Holiday stress has a particular impact on women, who take charge of many of the holiday celebrations, particularly the tasks related to preparing meals and decorating the home. Women are more likely than men to report an increase of stress during the holiday season. In addition, they have a harder time relaxing during the holidays and are more likely to fall into bad habits to manage their stress, like comfort eating.
- Workplace stress does not disappear. Although time off work is an important highlight of the holidays, people worry about getting enough time off of work and that work responsibilities might interfere with time spent with the family.
The APA also reports the leading holiday stressors are time (67 percent often or sometimes), money (62 percent often or sometimes), and commercialism or hype (53 percent often or sometimes). In contrast, work and money are leading stressors during the regular year.
To help you have a happy holiday season, here are 10 tips to help relieve holiday stress and make this time of year the happiest season of all:
Pay It Forward and Spread the Joy!
For the holidays join a local charity and help with serving dinners, dropping off presents and giving hugs. Every time we do a random act of kindness we help others while helping ourselves. Random acts of kindness give a boost of happiness that lasts for hours.
A Grateful Heart
Take a few minutes each day to write a gratitude list. The holidays are not about the presents, or the food, or the parties. The most important aspects of the holidays are the opportunities to connect or reconnect with friends and family. Allow the gratitude of being surrounded by loved ones to fill your heart.
One of the best ways to avoid holiday stress is to start planning early! This means making to-do lists, grocery lists, getting a head start on your gift shopping and more. When you wait until the last minute to do these things, that’s when the stress and pressure can be overwhelming.
Holiday shopping and thinking about a business meeting? Or visiting with family and thinking about your to-do list? You will be more productive AND enjoy doing these a whole lot more if you’re not trying to multi-task. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, mindfulness is defined as the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis; also: such a state of awareness. Being mindful is being present and not letting your mind go to the next activity. Completely focus on the here and now.
Don’t Over Commit
There are only 1,440 minutes in a day, and as much as we might wish it weren’t true, there is a limit to how much you can accomplish. Especially around the holidays, there may be an increased demand on your time. Remember what is most important. Holidays (and life) can bring on all kinds of obligations like cooking meals, attending parties, buying gifts and sending cards. Don’t try to take on more than you can handle, and don’t spend more money than you can afford. Friends and colleagues will understand and too often the unnecessary high demands we feel we place on ourselves.
Don’t forget to make time to exercise. Raising your heartbeat and taking time to zone out with exercise helps relieve stress, anxiety, and tension that can be so prevalent around the holidays. Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins.
Have a Personal Space
Being in the same house for days with more people than typical can be stressful especially if you feel like you have nowhere to go for personal space. Carve out one place where you can go to be aloneJust 5 minutes of sitting in a quiet place and zoning out can preserve your sanity and rejuvinate your tired brain.
Bergamot, lemon, roman chamomile, geranium and ylang ylang are great for promoting instant relaxation. Applying oils topically means you can reap the benefits all day (or night)—read up on how to do so along with a variety of different ways to use essential oils in our Guide To Begin Using Essential Oils or our How To Use Essential Oils with a Diffuser guide with 10 essential oil blends to use in a diffuser.
Get Back To Nature
Bundle up and go outside. Going for a walk in the park or the woods helps many people relax and feel better when they are feeling overwhelmed.
Let Go of Perfection
Don’t obsess over doing it all. It’s ok if the house is a little messy or dinner is a little late. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Know what your priorities are and forget the rest.
Is the holiday season stressful? What is your go to for de-stressing during the holiday season? Do you look forward to or dread the 24/7 Christmas music?
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