O the holidays…. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Or is it? Truthfully, I think I pull more hair out during November and December than any other time of the year. It’s so stressful! Holiday shopping. Family drama. Extra expenses. Food. Lack of time. This feeling that even though we’re going above and beyond, we’re still not doing enough. Because of these overwhelming feelings, I pulled together five ways I plan to reduce your holiday stress this season.
Where better to start than some decluttering of our mental space?
Over the years I’ve learned that the best place to start is by simply giving ourselves some grace. Let’s give ourselves permission to not do it all for once. We don’t have to outdo ourselves this year, or each other. This is not a competition for the best Christmas ever!
But first, why am I talking about holiday stress?
The truth is that it sure is important to acknowledge stress so you can reduce it or cope with it a little better. Especially during the holidays. Family drama, healthy habits shot to hell, family gatherings, work parties, gah!!! So much to do in so little time!
So why not talk about holiday stress?
As I’ve said before, let’s aim for a 1% improvement….you may not be able to change the stressors in your life, but if you can manage the impact on your body 1% better, then you’ll stay healthier and more able to handle the stress.
Here five are ways you can keep your stress in check this holiday season:
Remember, since we can’t always control the stress in our lives, the goal is to reduce our experience of stress by even 1%.
Here’s how you can do that, starting NOW…
Prioritize your holiday parties
How many parties or family get-togethers do you have on your calendar? Enough to make your head spin?
However, not attending those work parties or your significant other’s parties can add even more pressure to you afterward. These parties are an investment for the people putting them on. Therefore, not going can be seen as a sign of disrespect towards your boss or family. Go, no matter how much it makes you feel uncomfortable.
My tip is to prioritize the parties by importance to you. Yeah, going takes time out of your day, but no one says how long you have to be there. Enough time to thank the host and mingle with one or two key people is enough to say you were there. Cutting a few parties short = less holiday stress.
Related article: These Simple Stress Tools Can Help You Show Up For Yourself
Planning ahead doesn’t solely revolve are meal planning 😉 Strategize your holidays around what matters most to you, stop to smell the poinsettias, staying organized and approach the holidays with realistic expectations will help you feel more in control and less stressed.
- Narrow down the most important family activities.
- Make freezable holiday dishes (the kind that all you have to do is set out or pop in the oven – cheesecake anyone?).
- What activities do you love to do? Make these a non-negotiable and pencil them into your calendar.
- Which activities aren’t ‘must do’ items? Mark those off girl! You don’t have to do everything.
Related article: One Simple Productivity Habit to Tackle the Right Things
Know your financials
Ringing bells for all to hear? Ringing bells for holiday debt? In the past, I’ve found I had decent control with my finances until the holidays. All the holiday activities, parties, gift giving and baking add up to a lot of credit card debt and drained savings accounts (am I right?). Not to mention all the bills that are due around this time (think taxes….).
To combat this, I’ve found planning is the best defense. Get real with where you are financially. Make a budget for all the non-negotiables and start prepping months before. I mean Thanksgiving and Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate) fall the same time every year. Plan your gifts and activities, then add each to your budget.
Don’t forget that material gifts are not what the season is about. Make this holiday more meaningful by giving your time instead of an item. This is as simple as writing a thoughtful note to a friend, neighbor, or co-worker. A real appreciation of someone’s efforts can mean more than a gift card any day. We’re often underappreciated. Take advantage of this and genuinely tell someone why you appreciate them and bless them a happy holiday season.
Practicing self-care is a must!!! Unfortunately, the holidays can bring up old wounds for some of us. You may find yourself feeling depressed, anxious, inadequate, lonely… Here are a few quick things you can do to allow yourself more spaciousness during the holidays:
- Have a vent session! I don’t mean to be negative Nancy 24/7. Allow yourself the space to have a quick vent. You’re not as alone as you think you are.
- Consider your schedule today. Where can you fit in 20 minutes for yourself —where you’re not taking care of anyone else or being “productive”—so you can relax and play and do something mindless?
- Look at your calendar for the next seven days. What’s one activity you’ve committed to that you can cancel?
- Look at your to-do list. What’s one item you can delegate to someone else in the next 24 hours?
- Look at your calendar for tomorrow. Where can you fit in a 10-minute walk or Frisbee toss in your backyard? The fresh air and movement will help you cope waaay better with stress.
Related article: How to Make Time for the Most Important Things in Your Life
Feeling anxious before you take a bite? Before your next meal, try what I call the “5-5-7” breath. Inhale for a count of 5, hold your breath for a count of 5, then exhale for a count of 7. Repeat at least three times. This gives your body a chance to relax before your meal, which will increase your digestive capacity and help your body pull more nutrients from the food you’re eating.
Related article: 2 Easy Ways to Calm Your Body and Mind…
Let’s make this holiday season the least stressful one you’ve experienced in years. Keep your priorities in sight and take the season one day (sometimes hour) at a time. This is the perfect time to declare change. Let’s start by taking care of ourselves, our finances, planning ahead and taking a deep breath now and then.
What do I do now?
If you feel too stressed to relax, and you KNOW it’s affecting your health, your weight and your energy levels, then click here NOW to schedule a time to talk with me about how to reduce or cope better with the stress in your life.
I’ve helped tons of clients solve this problem, and the chances are excellent that I can help you, too.
To your health!