Its called the “season of joy,” but this time of year can be filled with busyness and a lot of stress. Follow these tips to help keep the joy in the season and keep the stress low.
1) Stick with your daily health routine. Straying too much from your normal routine can make you feel sluggish and add to your stress. Enjoy holiday treats in moderation while being mindful to nourish your body with foods that normally make you feel good–especially lots of nutrient dense vegetables to help stave off the winter’s bombardment of colds. Exercise regularly to help maintain your energy level during a busier schedule.
2) Give up your “Pinterest worthy” expectations. It’s easy to get caught up in imagining new decorating ideas, gourmet dinners and the whim to hand make all your gifts this year. Be realistic and honest with yourself. Don’t overcommit and set yourself up for failure. Alllow yourself to say ‘no’ during the holidays. Doing more than you have the time or energy for is a sure way to feel stressed and burn out quickly. Say ‘yes’ to the tasks and moments that bring you joy. Consider buying ready to serve holiday food. Give handmade gifts made by someone else or give a gift card (quick and easy and always appreciated.) Keep it simple!
3) Positive Attitudes Lead to Positive Results. It’s easy to get down in the dumps during the holidays as bills pile up, commitments wear you thin and unreasonable expectations take over your life. This time of year it’s more important than ever to give yourself a break and carve time out of your busy schedule to relax and unwind. When you take care of yourself you not only feel good, but your positive attitude will radiate with everyone you come into contact with at home, work or social gatherings. Even if there seems to be no possible moment you can claim as your own but you are feeling emotionally out of whack, close your eyes, breathe deep from your belly several times, exhaling the air loudly from your mouth and try to get centered. Do this whenever you need a “moment.”
4) Escape the chaos (at least for an hour or so) by taking a break to get a massage. According to research, massage therapy can be effective for stress relief. Research shows that massage therapy can reduce stress significantly on physical and psychological levels including decreased blood pressure and heart rate as well significant changes in emotional states. Your body is under physical stress this time of year too. You haven’t stopped moving, you’re carrying heavy bags, carrying boxes out of the crawl space, cleaning your house, etc. Your body isn’t used to standing while baking cookies for 10 hours, or spending a day on a ladder putting up your lights. You’re bound to get some kinks along the way. Massage therapy can help you recover faster.
5) Keep the spirit of the season in mind. When all is said and done, no one will remember that the turkey was a little dry or that the sweater didn’t fit. What do they remember? The way you made them feel. By donating a wrapped toy to a toy drive, volunteering at your local soup kitchen, watching your town’s production of the Nutcracker, supporting a small business or just making time for your family and friends you are giving another person a gift you can’t put a price on. Giving kindness will ALWAYS make you feel good and good deeds are contagious so there is no measure on how far your kindness will spread.
Wishing you a relaxing and joyful holiday season!