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How to Manage Holiday Stress

The holidays are a time of year for celebration, being with family, and enjoying. Yet, they also tend to be a time of stress for many people in terms of preparation, overindulgence, and cost. The following are five ways to manage your stress through this holiday season.

1. Make time for your family but also for yourself.

As you rush around to finish shopping and decorating for the holidays, take some time for yourself and your family or friends to enjoy a massage, or give gifts of massage or other stress reducing activities to others.

If you are a parent, spend time with your children while they are home from school. Plan a day outside together. Nature is relaxing and can be fun even it means a snowball fight and some laughter before you get back to your shopping and preparing for guests etc.

Stress can also be caused by dysfunctional family members who are brought together during the holidays. Discuss with your family that you will forgive and forget others for any past problems created so that you can enjoy the holiday and feel good and leave family gatherings without anger or hurt.

Enjoy time with a warm drink in front of the tree or fireplace with Christmas music together as a family as you play a game that involves interaction. Don’t miss out on time together and plan to make it relaxing instead of perfect. If you are rushed,  remember to take a few minutes to sit down, conjure a relaxing place, and inhale and exhale ten deep breaths. Constantly being on the go can make you feel less in touch with the inherent joy of this season.

2. Keep to some kind of routine.

Keep with your fitness routine during the holidays and invite your family members when you can. Don’t give up exercising and if you are rushed just take a little time to run outside with your children and play a quick game.  Just a few minutes of a fun break can bring some laughter and stress relief before you get back to the holiday tasks. Try to maintain some sense of your norm as you move through the season. This will allow for you to keep pace with your lifestyle as you enter the New Year and help you see what adjustments to make for a healthier 2018.

3. Refresh the true spirit of the holidays.

The holiday is supposed to be about giving and receiving. Both are so important. How can although this season can certainly be stressful, the holiday season exists to celebrate love and joy. Even if you are stressed, remind yourself of what actually matters in the larger picture. Will it really matter if presents are not perfectly wrapped?

4. Build in time for activities that you have to do but may not want to.

Obligations abound throughout the holiday season. Maybe you feel obligated to attend the neighbor’s Christmas party or the one for work. Or, you feel pressure to spend extra time with your in-laws. Whatever the source of a more stressful obligation, try to find something positive to focus on before you arrive and then schedule the amount of time you will stay. Both will offer you a sense of control and allow you to feel more at ease.

5. Remind yourself of moderation.

We will be going to holiday work parties and will imbibe in more unhealthy foods and drink more than any other time of the year. We gather for large dinners, have chocolate and desserts, and also tend to drink more as part of the festive spirit. We receive gifts of food and decadent foods and liquors, etc. Remember to enjoy but in moderation. Eat slowly and notice when you are full before you take a second helping. Don’t give in to the adage ‘it’s only Christmas once or its time to celebrate and worry later’.

All of these suggestions are simple, but they add up to a more balanced holiday season.

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