Ahh, the holidays. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? Well, it can be, but then again sometimes it can be pretty darn stressful. Between the endless gatherings and parties, mile-long shopping list, and the expectation to do it all and see it all, it can be quite overwhelming- especially for those of us who suffer from anxiety. But here’s the thing, it totally doesn’t have to be that way.
The holiday season should be a time when you enjoy being in the company of family and friends, and a time where you reflect on your love and blessings. So let’s jump right in with my 6 tips on combating the holiday blues, and how to reduce stress during the holidays.
6 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress
- Plan Ahead- Since the holidays are usually pretty busy, one way to instantly reduce stress with the unknowns, is to map out all the planned events on a calendar. Whether it’s using a calendar on your phone, or printing out one to stick on your desk or fridge, it’s really important to write everything down that you’ll be doing over the next few weeks. This will help you stay prepared, plus you’ll be able map out some “relax days” in between.
- Keep It Simple- It can be super easy to feel like you have to fix a four-course meal when everyone is coming over to your house, or to want to try out that fancy new cake method you saw on Pinterest to take to a party, but unless you have the time (or desire), don’t guilt-trip yourself into feeling like you HAVE to do something. Take it from someone who has made the mistake of overextending herself one too many times, and just keep it simple. The things you do should bring you joy, bottom line. If making a cake makes you happy, go for it. If it makes you want to pull out your hair, then don’t do it. People will understand, and you’ll feel much better if you only partake in events and projects that you actually want to do.
- Maintain Healthy Habits- Although overindulging in sweets, lounging on the couch 24/7, and staying up all night watching Netflix marathons can be super tempting to do over Christmas break, don’t do it. The key to staying on track both physically and mentally is moderation. I’m not saying you can’t eat your mom’s homemade pie, or that you can’t spend a day relaxing on the couch, but try to maintain your regular routines. Exercising at least 3-4 times a week, getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night, and staying hydrated will help keep you feeling energized and focused. (Check out this post, if you want more holiday fitness tips!)
- Allow Yourself Some “Me Time”- No matter how busy it might get, make sure you schedule some “me time” for yourself. Whether this is in the form of a relaxing bubble bath or watching a movie curled up under a blanket, we all need those moments of relaxation to unwind and to regain our sanity. One of my favorite “me-moments” is to go for a walk while listening to music. It really helps to keep me relaxed and to avoid feeling burnt-out.
- Be Mindful- At the end of the day, try to remember to be present, in the moment, and to be mindful of what the season is really about. Instead of focusing on things that make you feel worried or overwhelmed, focus on the things that bring you feelings of joy. Focus on enjoying your favorite holiday meal, time spent with family members you don’t get to see often, and the blessings in your life. One way to be more mindful is by keeping a journal and each night writing down things that happened that day that made you happy. For inspiration, you can always look at it the next morning when you wake up, as a reminder of your blessings.
- Make Memories and Have Fun- Last but not least, have fun! Laugh, be silly, do something unexpected, and make memories with your loved ones. I always really like playing games with my family at gatherings because it’s a fun way to let loose and enjoy some much needed laughter. Life is too short to be anything but happy, so try to make the most of every situation and to not be too serious. And when all else fails, watch the movie Elf. Seriously, I don’t think anyone can watch that without laughing.
What ways do you de-stress during the holidays? What are you most looking forward to? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for stopping by!- Cara