8 Ways to Reduce Holiday Season Stress Having trouble feeling the holiday spirit? Use these simple tips to help make the next few months more enjoyable. BY COLIN CHRISTOPHER
The holidays are supposed to be joyous. Learn to embrace the season and relieve stress.
“ Lower your expectations and just let life happen. Youíll feel less stressed and have more fun if you just go with the flow.”
So many people look forward to the holiday season. The decorations are beautiful, thereís an abundance of tasty treats at home and at work, and even for a little while people seem to get in the spirit of the holiday season and are kinder to one another.
Itís a great time of year indeed, but not for all. For many, itís a very stressful time. There are the visits from out of town guests who stay in our homes, all that cooking, buying presents and more. In fact, for many people, the holidays arenít joyful at all. Theyíre downright stressful, anxiety provoking and dreadful.
If youíre one of those people who canít get into the season and find the next month to be very stressful, there are some things you can do to make it more enjoyable.
1. Donít procrastinate. You can reduce stress with a little bit of planning and getting an early start.† Do your holiday shopping early. Prepare your home and guest room way ahead of time. Figure out the menu of the big holiday dinner well ahead of time. If you wait until the last minute and find yourself pressed for time, youíre going to experience more stress.
2. Learn to say 'no.' If you have a hard time telling people 'no,' youíre going to find yourself overcommitted, tired, unable to do the things you really want to do and stressed out. Itís ok to say 'no' if you donít want to do something or donít have the time to do it. The key is to be polite about it. People will respect your 'no' if you explain it the right way. For example: "I sure wish I could help you out, but unfortunately I have a previous commitment and wonít be able to. Maybe next time."
3. Get plenty of sleep. One of the best friends of stress is lack of sleep. Stress impacts us more when weíre without enough shuteye. The holidays are an exciting time, but people tend to neglect getting enough rest due to travel, staying up late with family, overeating and feeling overwhelmed.† Make sleep a priority during the holidays and youíll enjoy the season more.
4. Make time for you. During the holidays, we have so many commitments to our family, friends, visitors, office parties and more, and people tend to forget about themselves.† Even as little as 20 to 30 minutes each day to do something you enjoy or to go for a walk by yourself will refresh you, relieve stress and help you enjoy the holidays.
5. Breathe. If youíre feeling overly anxious or stressed out from the holidays, take a few minutes to slow your breathing down.† Breathe in through your diaphragm (stomach area), hold for a few seconds, and slowly release through your mouth.†Slowing down your breathing is one of the best and natural stress relievers.
6. Take a step back and appreciate the moment. We tend to get so caught up in the moment that itís over before we know it.† Take time to step back and enjoy the time with your family, playing in the snow with your kids, and just be thankful for all you have. †Youíll naturally feel less stressed and more satisfied when you are thankful for everything around you.
7. Donít set expectations. Some people place very high expectations on the holidays.† They picture everything playing out in a specific way, and find themselves disappointed and stressed out when things donít go according to plan.† Lower your expectations and just let life happen. Youíll feel less stressed and have more fun if you just go with the flow.
8. Donít worry about what other people think. Maybe youíre concerned that your house is too messy, or that your pumpkin pie doesnít taste as good as it should. Itís okay to strive for perfection, but it becomes a problem and is a major cause of stress when you start letting otherís opinions of you get in the way. Hope that they like you, your food and your hospitality, but if you put in the effort and they donít like it, donít let it bring you down. Itís their problem.
If you start to feel stress or anxiety this holiday season, remember these tips and put them to work. They will make you feel better and who knows, you may even start to really look forward to the holiday season and have a great time.