While ‘tis the season to be jolly’ might apply to some people, planning for the holidays can leave many of us feeling impatient, irritable, and blue. When the realities of our daily lives conflict with our efforts to make a Martha Stewart-like holiday, stress kicks in. Thankfully, we’ve collected a few ways to help you reduce stress so you can savor the season with your family and friends.
1) Stop the “I should” thinking.
There is no such thing as the perfect holiday, so let go of the idea that the “perfect” holiday consists of fashionably dressed families caroling around the neighborhood drinking hot chocolate or of well-behaved children with napkins in their laps sitting around a Pinterest-worthy decorated table eating fresh vegetables from your garden. If your life is anything like mine, it is unlikely that reality will ever measure up to this. So drop all the “shoulds” and create realistic expectations, and enjoy things just the way they are.
2) Learn to say “No.”
It really is OK to say “no” for the sake of your time and sanity. Saying “no” doesn’t make you a bad person, and not saying “no” has implications as well. Remember that by saying “no” to that holiday party hosted by a colleague you wouldn’t recognize outside of the office, you are saying yes to doing the things you enjoy.
3) Add stretching to your daily routine.
Yoga and Pilates may be too time-consuming, but taking a short break to stretch can go a long way in reducing stress and calm the mind. Furthermore you can do it anytime, anywhere.
4) Divvy up tasks.
Don’t feel obligated to do everything by yourself. Go easy on yourself and share your to-do list with others. Kill two birds with one stone by inviting your favorite people to share in your tasks like wrapping gifts and decorating the house.
5) Set a Holiday Budget.
To avoid spending more money than you should, make a list of all your holiday spending categories – gifts, travel, parties, etc. and estimate those expenses. Decide how much money you will be allocating towards each category. Then make a list of the people you customarily give gifts to and assign a dollar amount, instead of a certain gift for each recipient. Carry your list with you while shopping to avoid overspending and ending up with buyer’s remorse. By sticking to your budget, you will be able to enjoy the holidays, rather than worrying about the bills that you will receive in January.
6) Live. Laugh. Love.
Too often we forget what the holidays are really about: family, friends and fun. Engage in activities and with people that make you laugh. Not only does laughing feel good, it can help you relieve some of the holiday stress.
Hopefully these tips will help you keep calm and bright throughout the entire holiday season. What are some of the ways that you reduce stress during the holidays?