How To Reduce Holiday Stress And Enjoy The Season

reduce holiday stress
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As the holidays quickly approach you might find yourself feeling frazzled and overwhelmed with everything going on. So much to do….so little time! To put this in perspective, according to Connie Bennett MSJ, CHHC, CPC:

The American Psychological Association (APA) found that nearly half of all women in the United States experience heightened stress during the holidays, which puts their health at risk. The APA also learned that during this time, 41 percent of women use food and 28 percent use alcohol.

Things can get pretty hectic around here this time of year with all the special gatherings with family and friends, food preparation, holiday parties, Christmas concerts, sports practices, shopping for gifts and wrapping presents.  But the holiday season doesn’t have to be wrought with anxiety and stress. There is a better way!

You can manage stress and enjoy all the fun-filled moments this season has to offer with the following tips:

How To Reduce Holiday Stress And Enjoy The Season

  1. Identify your feelings. The holidays can be an especially difficult time if you’ve lost a loved one or family relationships are strained. Take time to process how you are feeling – the good, the bad and the ugly. All of it.
  2. Relax your expectations. Don’t expect perfection from yourself or others. Be realistic. Give grace to yourself and those you love.
  3. Plan activities in advance. Knowing when you’re going to shop, cook, wrap presents and carol (or whatever activities you’ll be doing) can make your day go more smoothly because you won’t be rushing to get everything done at the last-minute.
  4. Focus on gratitude. Taking time to be thankful for the good in our lives, takes the focus off the bad. You might consider keeping a gratitude journal. Expressing your gratitude to the people in your life earns you bonus points.
  5. Practice saying NO. Many of us overcommit and end up paying for it later when the responsibilities become overwhelming causing burnout and stress. Choose to take part only in the activities that are most important to you. Setting boundaries is a good thing!
  6. Simplify your life. Sometimes we make things more complicated than they should be. For instance, if you’re hosting Christmas dinner for your extended family consider preparing the meat or main dish and asking the other families to bring a side dish or dessert. Also, look at doing a gift exchange instead of buying for everyone in your family or friend group.
  7. Set a budget and stick to it. Plan ahead for how much you want to spend on gifts. Write down your plan then carry it out. Remember, money (and presents) don’t buy happiness. Consider making homemade gifts or donating to a charity in your loved one’s name.
  8. Make sleep a priority. Try to turn in early to catch some zzzs. Getting a good night’s sleep makes all the difference. Here are 16 Quick Tips To Help You Sleep Better Tonight.
  9. Make time to work out. Just do it. You’ll thank yourself later. Plus, exercise is a great way to avoid holiday weight gain.
  10. Eat healthful foods. Focus on eating whole foods and eliminating processed junk food as much as possible. Then when you attend a special event or dinner you can enjoy some tasty goodies without feeling guilty.
  11. Keep the peace. Even if you have a score to settle with Cousin Johnny…or a bone to pick with Auntie May. And if you notice other people are moody this time of year, remember that they are likely feeling the impact of stress in their lives. Overlook these things and try to help others when you can to lessen their load.
  12. Drink plenty of water, especially lemon water. Staying hydrated is a healthy choice that can help prevent headaches and even boost your immunity.
  13. Practice deep breathing techniques. Doing yoga or taking a few deep cleansing breaths can be invigorating and help you de-stress. You might want to check out the Calm app. I have it on my phone and it’s a great tool to help you relax and sleep better!
reduce holiday stress
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How do you reduce holiday stress?

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