While the holiday season should bring about good cheer, gratitude, family and friend gatherings, and a sense of closure as the year comes to an end, oftentimes it also brings stress, anxiety, exhaustion, and overindulgence. Maintaining a healthy balance can be difficult when you are being pulled in so many different directions. We tend to think that we can do it all and do it all perfectly, but let’s be realistic. It is important to listen to your body and to your emotions during this somewhat hectic time of the year. On top of your daily responsibilities and routines, the month of December is also topped off with holiday parties, gift shopping, cooking, baking, decorating, and accommodating or visiting family.
Everyone’s traditions and holiday experiences are different, but I would bet that everyone has at least one holiday stress. Stress can lead to a laundry list of maladies and detrimental effects. When we are stressed, we can become easily overwhelmed, anxious, depressed, physically ill, and exhausted. These are not the things you want to feel during this joyous time of year. There are minor adjustments that you can make this holiday season to lessen, if not eliminate those stress causers.
1. Set realistic goals. Unless you’re a superwoman/man or something along those heroic lines, don’t take on more than you can or want to do. Maybe there isn’t enough time to hand address and send out those 50 or so holiday cards this year, or turn your house into a winter wonderland front page news sensation, or be the host/hostess with the mostest; that’s ok! By setting realistic holiday goals, you are setting yourself up for less stress and more time to actually enjoy the holidays.
2.Learn to say no. It’s as simple as that. If you don’t want to do it or don’t have time to do it, don’t do it. You are not required to attend every holiday party that you are invited to, participate in every gift exchange, or do all of the shopping, cooking, and preparation for the grand feast. By learning to say no without any guilt attached to your decision, you will be saving yourself from an exhausting, overwhelming, and stress riddled holiday season.
3.Set a budget and stick to it. The holidays are not about how many presents you give or how exquisite your centerpieces and decorations are, it is about something completely unmaterialistic. No matter what your budget is, you can create a memorable holiday experience. Sometimes though, we feel as if we have to do or give certain things in order to say that the holidays were a success. Stop feeling this way. It is a good idea to create a realistic budget and work within those means. If you plan ahead of time, you can eliminate this additional financial stress.
4.Take time for yourself. It is easy to get caught up in taking care of and doing things for everyone except yourself. However, it is important not to completely forget about yourself. In order to stay healthy, energetic, and productive during the holiday bustle, it is necessary to take care of your own physical and emotional needs. This could be as simple as allowing yourself time to take a long bath, or making sure you stick to your regular yoga schedule, or even just waking up extra slowly on Sunday to drink coffee in bed and snuggle with your dog. Remember to do the things that make you happy and keep you balanced. You might be a little stretched for time with your holiday obligations, but taking a little time for yourself can make a huge difference in the long run of the season.
The holidays, whether you have a huge family and it’s a huge production or the opposite, is a time when we should be thankful for what you have, what you’ve learned over the past year, and the endless possibilities to come. We should remember to spend time with and be grateful for the people (and animals!) in our lives. The holidays should be celebrated with love, gratitude, charity, and good cheer, not stress.
Stay tuned early next week for five more ways to lessen or eliminate holiday stress.
Thanks for sharing a smile with us this week!