Calendars filled, wood stacked, and festive air around you – Mimosa in hand, good food, and good friends around you, but something feels amiss. It’s not the holiday season you wanted. You are trying your best to enjoy, but it’s not really cutting it. So, how to be stress-free this holiday season?
We may not admit it, but we all have experienced stress when we should not have. But this time, it can be different. You can enjoy the snow, eggnog and have a truly stress-free holiday. Here is a list to help you prepare for a stress-free holiday season the best way:
1. Prime Your Stomach
Who does not set themselves free on all that turkey and pumpkin spice lattes? Many of us take fruit salts before going nuts on food. We do this to avoid stomach problems and are “essentially priming.” Likewise, accepting that stress will come in different forms, but it’s all part of the holidays, can make it easier for you. With this mantra in mind, you will be more calm and adaptive.
By just essentially “welcoming the chaos,” you won’t see your stress as big as it used to be. This technique will rewire your mind and will reduce your physical and emotional responses associated with stress. On a lighter note, go easy with the binge eating; many people end up in the ER owing to stomach problems, food poisoning bloating, etc.
Most of us need alone time to truly feel recharged. So, do that.
Leave the work on your desk. Make sure you do not have to worry about work; wind it just enough that you do not have intrusive thoughts ruining your holidays.
Plan a hike or a camping session with your closest buddies, and yes, leave the screen! It can also be winding up on your sofa with a book, a blanket, and some popcorn. Just keep it easy and make sure you feel more in tune with yourself. It can be a day, a week, or a few hours. Focus on self-reflection; a good idea (keeping the festive theme in mind) would be focusing on your strengths and weaknesses and being thankful for them.
Tell yourself that it’s okay to burn that batch of cookies; no one will judge you on your gravy, carve out fun and the turkey with friends and have a warm and cozy holiday. Drop out expensive and high-stress rituals in favor of simple and fun activities.
3. Stop The Splurge
The holiday season is not an excuse to overdraw your credit limit. Reports show that going overboard with credit cards is one of the most significant stressors in the holiday season. Crazy seeming deals and offers can lure you into spending more than you want or should. All the shops with their neon boards and lightings indeed make it hard to control, but you must or risk breaking in cold sweat and feeling knots in your stomach all holidays long. No one wants their credit card bill rocked up.
You need to understand that the spirit is not in giving gifts but rather in sharing, so share your time, love, and smiles for an unforgettable experience.
However, while running through mall aisles, make sure to collect those free perfumes. Research shows that lemon scents instantly alleviate the mood, keeping stress at bay.
4. Evade Extra Expectations
It’s your holiday, after all, and it should hold true for your obsessive tendencies. There is no need to fuss about making the perfect turkey or setting the perfect table. Let things run at their own pace and be cautious about feeling burnt out.
A good way is to delegate holiday duties well in time and enjoy the time rather than making arrangements; it’s a once-in-a-year thing after all! Do your best but reassure yourself that no glaze or eggnog is worth losing your sanity over them.
Focus on time well spent instead of worrying about mailing posts, uploading statuses, or snapping pictures. Involve everyone in preparation and make it fun and easier. Give pumpkins to kids to carve and ask them to clear the leaves, making the chores fun. Not to forget, many stores do not publicize that they offer free gift wrapping. So, be sure to ask, and you will not feel bored by such mundane tasks in the first place.
5. Beware of Beer
The holiday season is undoubtedly an open season to drink, eat and be merry, but you must be cautious.
So, take a moderate approach, neither count the macros nor stuff yourself silly. No one wants sugar withdrawal symptoms after the holiday season. Do the best you can to maintain your routine, and don’t let a few days of indulgence open the door to full-on gluttony. You will only feel worse, and it will be a lot harder to get back on track.
When it comes to daily exercise and healthy food, the bare minimum is a lot better than nothing. Do moderate physical activity or plan a cycling trip with your friends. Exercise releases dopamine, the chemical that keeps you happy, and being around nature does the same. Pair the two and see the change in your mood. Fitness with festivity indeed.
- Rock climbing
- Skeet shooting
6. Take Care of Veterans
If you are a veteran or know one, accept the fact that a full house and too much commotion is nerve-wracking for them and can trigger their PTSD. Control the number of people and noise in your home. You can also put out a sign in front of your door to let other people know. Remind kids not to startle them or be loud when trick-o-treating.
Loud noises can set depressive episodes, PTSD, and other ticks, which can ruin the holidays. A true holiday means taking care of yourself and others. So, respect the veterans and their special needs.
7. Be Sure to Take Breaks
In all the commotion and work, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. You need not feel guilty. Recline on the couch and stretch to relieve yourself of stress. It’s also advised to meditate to alleviate your anxiety and practice breathing exercises. This way, you will adapt better and will notice better communication with your family.
For super busy people, a technique is known as “thinker’s moment” is advised. Just close your eyes and let your mind wander; let yourself daydream, and you will feel your mind refreshed. You can also take a casual stroll to see the lights and decorations around your street.
8. Lighten Your Travel And Gifts
Send your gifts early for early smiles. The holiday season means long lines and delayed courier services. Save yourself from stress by sending gifts early.
Moreover, pack only the necessary stuff and keep your suitcase light when traveling. The security checks are long and tighter, and you need not feel extra lagged along with jet lag.
- If you are traveling by car, make sure to check the tire pressure, hoses, and fluids well in time.
- Also, check with highways authorities online to be sure of any traffic, diversion, or blockades. Make sure to keep your travel plans limited and simple.
Well spent holidays are not necessarily spent in Venice or Prague but with good company, laughter, smiles, and bonding.
9. Hold On to Daily Rituals
Many habits can help make us feel calm and grounded. Some of us read for half an hour before bed or go to the gym, whatever it is; do not give it up in favor of a holiday chore. Otherwise, you will feel disoriented and may even want to stay away. Such habits also help in unwinding after a long day. It is necessary to feel in control amidst merry madness!
Remember to savor moments, appreciate the joy you had in the day while pruning the Christmas tree and hanging decorations on it. Take happy thoughts and memories to bed, make the holidays count!
10. Ponder On Perspective
List down the stressors that you encountered the previous season or those which you foresee. This way, you will be able to delegate your least favorite holiday chores and will feel organized and ready.
- For example, ask the kids to wrap gifts and other stuff.
- Divide the cards among friends or family to write and post.
- Do what you enjoy. Learn to say no to gingerbread cookies (if you do not like them) and accept what you want; the same goes for the chores.
- No gift-wrapping this time, and it’s okay; post them instead. Make conscious decisions about the food, traditions, and activities you like and say “no thank you” when needed.
The holiday season is not the time for stress; instead, it’s time to unwind and keep warm with eggnog and laughter. Such a change in perspective will declutter your mental desk, and the more organized you feel, the more you will enjoy.
So, now you know how to be stress-free?
This holiday season focuses on being together and enjoying the warmth. So, let the festive spirit warm your soul. Make this season more about relaxing and less about worrying or standing in long shopping lines. Go out on an adventure, take a hike, and don’t let your stress spike.