BEATING HOLIDAY STRESS
The holiday season is supposed to be a special time, but as stress builds up, it’s easy to trade in the specialness for a Scrooge attitude. Take action before you hit the wall. Choose to make your holiday season something to look forward to each year.
Create a Holiday Plan
- Map out your calendar – write in:
- The activities you want/need to attend – including anything you need to do ahead of the event. For example: buy the ingredients, make the dish, wrap a gift.
- Your to-do lists, including shopping, baking, cards, decorating.
- Too many things? Go through and find ways to cut back. Is there anything on your calendar that can wait until after the holidays?
- Which events can be given a NO?
- How can you make baking and decorating easier?
- What is unfairly eating away from quality time with friends and family?
- Better yet, what tasks can be shared with family/friends and become time together?
- Remember – you don’t have to accept every invitation that comes your way, nor do you have to ‘keep up’ with what other people are doing. Don’t lay the “should do” burden on your shoulders – or anybody else’s.
- Work in some downtime – alone and with your family and friends. Part of the holiday spirit is the connection.
Set a Budget
- Too often holiday stress comes from over-spending. Decide ahead what you can afford for gifts and stick to it.
- Start shopping early. It spreads out the financial load and gives you time to find what you can afford instead of breaking the budget in the pressure of last-minute shopping.
- Don’t let guilt push you into bills that last for weeks after the holiday decorations are back in their boxes.
Take Care of You
- While it’s always important to take care of yourself, in times of stress, it’s an absolute essential.
- Exercise – regular exercise burns calories, boosts your sense of well-being and decreases anxiety. Sounds like a win/win to us.
- Beat the Diet Busters
- Strategize ahead – a plan will help you have more restraint when facing those holiday buffets.
- Include spicy foods – they trigger those friendly little endorphins
- Sweeten with honey – it gives you energy for the long haul – rather than the spike and drop of refined sugar – and boast antibacterial and antioxidant qualities as well.
- Eat fresh fruits and veggies.
- Keep lemon slices handy or citrus essential oils – the scent will boost your spirits.
- Eat small meals often and if you rely on caffeine – don’t drink it on an empty stomach.
- Go for sunlight – get outside if you can, but if not, try to work by a window – or at least take a break and drink in the sun from behind the glass.
- Listen to music – choose what lifts you up, calms your being, makes you happy.
- Trade in “perfection” for laughter – Focus your thoughts and energy on enjoying the people in your life – they won’t remember if the tree lights are symmetrical or if the fudge was homemade. They will remember the fun times and the laughs you shared – even if it was while you ate pieces of the sugar cookies that broke when you dropped the tray. Laughing together reduces those stress hormones and builds a lifetime of memories.
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