‘Tis the season for all things merry and bright.
If only it was all merry and bright. But the truth is this: the holiday season is tough.
First, there’s the pressure to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. That’s enough to send you into a whirlwind of stress on its own. However, throw in the holiday parties that sound like fun when you say “yes,” but can quickly become a downward spiral of stress and overcommitting. And then you’ve got family dynamics. Every family has something that makes getting together complicated.
So, rather than fall into the slump of holiday stress this year, we are giving you some tips, tricks, and tools to help you make it through this time of year feeling a bit more merry and a bit more bright.
Tips for Holiday Stress
It can be hard to say “no” to things, especially when they’re parties and fun activities with your friends and family. However, when you’ve got too many things on your calendar and too many obligations to follow through with, you can start to feel massive stress and pressure.
So, rather than trying to make it to every get-together this holiday season, pick a few that are the most important and then say “no” to the rest. Either say that you’re busy, or explain that you’ve got to keep some downtime for yourself.
Limit Your Drinking
Though it sounds fun to get in the holiday spirit and have some spirits, if you take it too far too many times, you may find your stress and anxiety making a regular appearance.
We aren’t telling you to cancel the egg nog this year or pass on your spiked hot chocolate. We are saying that it’s in your best interest to limit how much you drink at each party, and maybe to not drink at every event you go to. Your body and mind will thank you.
If you have a family that always struggles when they get together, then be realistic about your holidays. We aren’t saying to assume the worst, but don’t expect a Hallmark movie holiday with your family if that’s not typically the case.
Go into your family gatherings with good intentions, and know when it’s time for you to bow out. There is no need to involve yourself in any of the drama – simply leave when things get to be too much.
Keep it Simple
Over-the-top gifts are always a good idea until it comes time to make them happen.
So, rather than push yourself to get the best gift for everyone on your list, do what you can. Maybe opt to get cards for your loved ones as opposed to going out and spending loads and time, money, and energy on finding the right gift. Cards can be such a heartfelt gift and mean a lot to the people that you care about.
Also, keep it simple when it comes to attending or throwing parties. Does every cookie you bring to a party need to be baked by you? Not if that will bring you stress. Storebought cookies taste great, so if you’re short on time and high on stress, head to your favorite bakery and bring those cookies instead.
Don’t complicate where you don’t need to this holiday season. Simplicity is key.
Plan it Out
Write out your plans and schedule for this holiday season to ensure you don’t overcommit. Seeing everything in a calendar can help you see what you’re able to do without pushing yourself too far.
First put into your calendar the events that are your top priority – the ones you know you have to say “yes” to (and want to!). Then, you can go from there and see what else fits or doesn’t fit.
When planning your schedule for the holiday season, don’t forget to schedule in time for yourself to do nothing but just breathe. Breathing exercises are scientifically-proven to help alleviate stress and anxiety, so if you feel yourself going into that negative space, turn to breathwork to help you get out of it.
And, to try your best to keep that anxiety and stress at bay, make breathwork part of your daily routine. All you need is 10 minutes to ground yourself.
Work it Out
Exercise and movement are some of the best ways to keep your mood boosted any time of the year, but especially during the stressful holiday season.
Incorporate walks into your daily life, and get yourself to the Pilates studio a few times a week to help keep your stress to a minimum. Having that hour to yourself will do wonders for not only your physical health but your mental health, too.