13 Dec Tips for a Stress-free Holiday Season
There’s something extra special about the holiday season — but it doesn’t come without faults. We experience added stress, and it can be hard to catch our breath. There is the pressure of finding gifts, rushing around to visit everyone, having family and friends visit you, and seeing relatives you enjoy as well as dealing with those who aren’t always a joy to be around.
Handling this time of year with a great mindset and some helpful reminders will get you through. Here are some tips to keep your holiday season as stress-free as possible.
Don’t strive for perfection!
Your cookies are a bit brown around the edges. Your lights aren’t lighting up. Your daughter decided to make a messy lunch for herself, in your clean kitchen, moments before your guests arrive. Let go of your vision of perfection – and go with the flow. People want to be with you and enjoy your company – not focus on your perfect house or your unburnt cookies. (Know a great way to get rid of the lightly burnt bottom of your cookies? Use a hand grater and gently slide the cookie back and forth. Bye, bye brown bits!)
Don’t feel bad about saying “no”
You can’t do it all. Do you really need to go to every party and event from now through New Year’s day? Decide which ones are most important to attend, the most fun to attend and politely decline the others. Spreading yourself thin means added stress, the risk of getting sick and time goes by too quickly. Instead, savor the time you spend with family and friends and make memories that will last a lifetime.
Ditch the crash diets
Last month we discussed ways to handle healthy eating during the holidays. Don’t starve yourself to compensate for the extra calories you had last night or are going to have at tonight’s holiday party. When you slip up, forgive yourself and think of ways to avoid the same mistakes next time. Don’t punish yourself – just move forward with better decisions and no harsh judgement.
Ask for help
Let me repeat: you can’t do it all. When people offer to help – say YES! Let them bring a side dish, grab something from the store on their way, or help with the dishes. When you don’t have the time to make something from scratch, grab something pre-made from the store. We all need help at times and accepting it will do wonders for your sanity and your stress-level.
Schedule time for yourself
Women, in particular, spend less than 30 minutes a day on themselves. Book a fitness class in your calendar, get a special-roast coffee at the corner café, read a book, take a bath, or call your best friend – whatever works best for you. You’ll feel refreshed and deal better with everyone and everything on your list. As the saying goes…. You can’t give from an empty cup!
Remember, the holidays are about joy. Find yours within, and you’ll be able to spread more of it around.
One of the ways we spread joy around the holidays is to contribute clothes, gifts and food for local, low-income families, through a program run by our church. When you give to others, it activates the part of your brain associated with pleasure and social connection. It actually boosts your happiness – along with those you help!
What makes you feel most joyful?
Here’s to your low-stress, enjoyable holidays,