The holidays are among us – a time of year that causes a lot of stress for many of us.
Holiday invitations gathering on your counter, a long list of people you need to send holiday cards to, and the daunting task of braving the shopping mall crowds. All of this, in addition to your normal every day life.
It can be overwhelming to say the least!
We wanted to share some great ways to navigate this busy, stressful time of year and make this season a lot more enjoyable, less stressful and a time you will remember with fond memories.
The Secret Weapons for Holiday Happiness (and Less Stress)
Put forth great effort to be present.
It can be exceedingly difficult. It’s almost a reflex to pick up our phones and scroll through Facebook or our email when we have a free moment.
One way to dodge this is to leave the electronics in another room. Don’t even tempt yourself to pick up your phone and disengage from communicating with when you are at a party or socializing.
Feeling particularly scatter-brained? Sometimes what can really help ground you is focusing on your senses. What are you smelling? Hearing? Feeling? Stopping and thinking through what’s going on around you really brings you into the present moment unlike anything else. It’s a wonderful tool to use year-round too, not just during the holidays!
Give up those expectations.
A lot of the stress we put on ourselves this season lies in the notion that we expect things to be perfect.
That’d be lovely, of course – but putting your entire extended family in one house is bound to have something go awry. Therefore, dropping the expectations of perfection will allow you to be prepared for when something may spring up. There is joy to be found in each situation, so even when things don’t go exactly as planned – spend your energy finding gratitude in your circumstances and enjoying as much of your time as you possibly can.
Find time to move.
It’s incredibly important to keep movement in your schedule, no matter how busy you may feel. Even if it’s just a brisk walk after lunch or dinner – make it a habit to bundle up in your favorite scarf and winter coat to go for a walk alone to clear your mind, or with someone you enjoy being around. Be sure that you are getting your time outside in nature, breathing in fresh air, while burning off some calories and keeping your heart rate up.
The 12 Stress Tips of Christmas
- Acceptance. Holidays can get to everyone–not just you. Accept family members and friends for who they are, they are doing the best they can do.
- Gratitude. Focus in on every little pleasure. Focus on what you have, and what you get and not on what you don’t have or what you don’t get.
- Be real. Don’t force yourself to be happy just because it’s the holiday season. Sometimes things aren’t great. Lost a loved one, lost a job, not where you want to be? It’s ok to not feel like celebrating the season.
- Be realistic. The holidays don’t have to be perfect. They usually won’t be. And things change. Try to learn to roll with the changes and make new traditions if need be.
- Pig out. Just not every day. Keep exercising, eating healthy (most of the time). Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all.
- Punch out. Set aside grievances. You can pick them up again in January if necessary. Don’t bring up old fights when with family or friends.
- Cash out. Make a budget and stick to it. Don’t cash out your savings or go broke.
- Schedule out: figure out who you need gifts for, what days and times you’ll spend shopping, what will be on the menu. Organize and write it down. It really helps.
- Tap out. You can’t do it all. Sometimes you’ll need a time out. No one wants to feel they let someone else down and we end up running all over the place. Say no more–and make time for yourself!
- Time out. Take a break and take some time for yourself. Skip something if you have to. Say no thank you!
- Reach out. If you feel lonely, get out there. Volunteer, spend time with the a friend or with a community group like your church. Don’t isolate.
- Get help. If you’re struggling, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.
Stay well and Happy Holidays!
Leah Canale is Evolve Medical Clinics full time Health & Wellness Consultant. Members are invited to use her services at no additional charge for the first 30 days.