The end-of year holidays often feel like a whirl-wind of activities. When one ends, another seems to come shortly after. That’s when holiday stress relief tips come in handy.
For many women, the end-of-year holidays never mean relaxing and lounging around enjoying the fireplace and such. Instead, many women find themselves frantic as they try to complete the laundry list of tasks in anticipation of that one perfect, albeit ever elusive holiday cheer.
Expectations aside, holidays are often a time when many of women find themselves in over their heads – stressed and overworked. The joy and essence of the holiday is lost in this mess. Regardless, the holidays should remain about family, friends, renewal, and enjoyment.
With that in mind, I’ve put together this little guide with my top 11 holiday stress relief tips to help you combat holiday stress quickly and easily.
Holiday Stress Relief Tips #1: Simplify & Prioritize Your Tasks
Simplify the process. Stay organized and prioritize like crazy. Put some thought towards the end goals here: what’s necessary and what isn’t? What do you truly need? What does your family and others WANT and NEED? Don’t just make assumptions here. Discuss it if need be. Keep in mind that wants and needs change as the time goes on. As the family network shrinks and expands ( e.g. because of divorce/re-marriage), remember that disgruntled family members and drama means stress for everyone involved.
Holiday Stress Relief Tips #2: Stipulate A Budget
It seems simple but many people overlook it. Establishing a budget realistically and conservatively can make a big difference with holiday spending pressure. If you save a budget ahead of time, you’ll thank yourself later.
Don’t go into the holidays making purchases that you’ll still be paying off with credit well into the next year. That’s a great way to bring financial stress into your life. Try to be realistic and honest with yourself and others. Set your budget and adhere to it. Don’t buy into the hype of advertisers and “amazing” holiday deals. The seasons and holidays are about enjoyment and family – not the money spent.
Holiday Stress Relief Tips #3: Schedule Your Time Properly
Another important holiday stress relief tip is to be realistic with your time as well. For instance, cooking some big elaborate meal may not be practical in the situation. If you’re overwhelmed with tasks, you need to go with convenience. There’s plenty of options out there for simple meals. Don’t hesitate to ask others for help and to pitch in what they can.
If there’s a lot of parties going on during the holiday, you need to decide which ones you can attend and which you cannot. Discuss your priorities openly with those involved in your life. You need to re-evaluate the situation and reduce your commitments around the holidays in order to align them with a YOUR reality, well-being and happiness.
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Holiday Stress Relief Tips #4: Reserve Time To Unwind & Relax
During the hustle and bustle of the end-of-year holiday madness, it’s easy to get caught up and forget the need to block downtime for unwinding and pampering. The stress and hype of the season will quickly take it’s toll on you. Trust me, you don’t want to be the one who ends up sick or beat down by the end of the year.
Take note of your stress and fatigue levels. Tensions may be running high, so consciously take a deep breath in heated situations and try to keep your cool. Flying off the handle won’t help anybody – especially you.
Keeping your cool will also help to greatly reduce the effects that holiday stress has on your mind and body. As a result, the holidays may be less tense.
Holiday Stress Relief Tips #5: Don’t Forget To Exercise
Of course, the experts everywhere will emphasize the value of good aerobic exercise when it comes to stress reduction and overall well being. We all know this is a fact, but during the end-of-year holidays, it’s easy to forget it.
Make it a point to exercise, and get some fresh air if possible. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes. Take a quick walk or ride a bike, take the stairs at work or dance when you hear music. Do something that gets you moving and active – you’ll be amazed at how much it contributes to a positive mood.
Holiday or not, take advantage of the opportunities for regular exercise in your routine, and your mind and body will thank you for sure.
Holiday Stress Relief Tips #6: Be Selective About What You Eat
We’re all aware that good eating habits result in good health and improved well-being. However, during the holidays it’s way too easy to stuff yourself with junk food and snacks – especially when you find you are short on time.
Don’t let the stress and overwhelm of end-of-year holidays destroy your diet. Your waistline expands, and your health dwindles. Then you’re left making a new year’s resolution to get to the gym to lose that weight and cut the stress.
Despite the many temptations of good sweets and eats during the holidays, try to exercise proper eating habits.
Grab some fruit or vegetables if they’re around, instead of scooping some candy from that bowl. At the very least, try to remember to take your vitamins!
Holiday Stress Relief Tips #7: Ease Up On Alcohol Consumption
Nobody wants a hangover impeding on their holiday plans, safe to say. If you have a lot of parties to make the rounds to, pace yourself on alcoholic drinks. Even if you’re just at home lounging or getting things done. You’d be amazed at how alcohol can reduce your energy level the following day.
If you have a loaded schedule, it might be best to reduce alcohol consumption, or BETTER yet, skip out on the alcohol entirely. Furthermore, if you’re an alcoholic, make sure to attend AA meetings if necessary.
Holiday Stress Relief Tips #8: Try To Get Enough Sleep
I know this is definitely easier said than actually done, especially when the holidays bring about lots of change and a frenzy of events. After all, most people get caught up in things like gifts to buy, parties to attend, cards to mail out, parties to plan and throw, a house to clean, meals to get cooked, and in the midst of it all, most of us have to still work our jobs too. Not to mention the parents that juggle all of that with taking care of their kids as well.
Heck, just thinking about that stuff can make you feel exhausted.
But remember that fatigue and overworking can end up impairing your judgment and shortening your tempers. It’s going to take a toll on your emotionally and physically.
That holiday you’ve been working towards and planning might end up crumbling under the stress of bad emotions and tensions.
In the buzz of everything, don’t be afraid to take a nap. Get to bed earlier if need be, skip out on certain things.
Holiday Stress Relief Tips #9: Enforce Realistic Acceptance
I think we can agree that family gatherings are not the place to vent over past wrong doings and grievances. In the fast paced end-of-year holiday seasons, you need to remember that some things and people aren’t going to change.
Despite how badly you want to change them or want them to. You’re going to be a lot more patient and level headed if you can realistically accept what you cannot change.
Holiday Stress Relief Tips #10: Check Your Emotional Well Being
Unfortunately, holiday occasions can often reopen old memories, both good and bad.
We all experience hardships in our lives, maybe the loss of a loved one or a recent separation – these unfortunate happenings can make enjoying holidays seem like a feat that’s unbearable. Because of this, you need to take active measures to take care of yourself.
One excellent way to do that is by focusing on your spirituality. It may sound quaint but studying the bible can be very healing.
Another very beneficial way to to take care of your emotional health is by focusing on the good things in your life. Also, , talking to others about what bothers you and venting your thoughts can help.
If for some reason you can’t talk about it to a friend or family member, then you can always contact a therapist or find a counseling line (phone or online).
Attending to your emotional needs doesn’t have to mean pouring your heart and guts out at the holiday table. It just means finding a safe place for support and utilizing it when it’s needed.
Holiday Stress Relief Tips #11: Make Peace With Your Inner Self
This may sound silly, but it’s not. It’s not a preference, it’s something that absolutely must be done.
Time-honored methods of nourishing the body and the soul include things like:
Practicing any of these sorts of things on a daily basis can be one of the greatest things you can do to maintain both your sanity and your serenity.
Even if you only find yourself with a few minutes each day to practice, do it. Make peace with yourself everyday. Accept who you are and your past mistakes. Keep yourself centered and it will help you immensely during the tension of holidays.
Want The Secrets To Holiday Stress Relief?
As the holiday season approaches, your stress level will probably rise. In addition to your typical schedule of work, home and kids, you may be thinking about more shopping, menus to plan, and food to prepare. Make sure you plan for holiday stress relief too!
The good news is, even with all the extra activities and preparations, you can still reduce your holiday stress.
Here are some proven strategies to help you decrease your stress.
Some of these may even be so effective that you’ll choose to use them all year long, not just during the holidays!
Holiday Stress Relief Secret #1 – Acknowledge that everything doesn’t need to be perfect.
The commercials and movies on television during the holidays really miss the mark when it comes to realistic portrayals of family holidays.
Accept that you can enjoy some beautiful holiday get-togethers regardless of whether something is spilled or you’re having trouble locating your favorite dinner napkins.
Furthermore, most people will hardly notice if the pies were baked a little too long or you forgot the cranberry sauce.
Make this your motto: Family get-togethers don’t need to be perfect, just memorable.
Holiday Stress Relief Secret #2 – Spread Out The Tasks
Can you imagine how much less stressed you’d feel if you had all your shopping and planning done in October? Online gift guides can make your life a whole lot easier.
Also, plan your holiday menus well in advance of using them. This way, you’ll have the menu set and the store lists made. As the holidays get closer, review your menus and shopping lists and make any minor adjustments you want.
Spreading holiday tasks out over longer periods of time means you’ll have less stress during the holiday season.
Holiday Stress Relief Secret #3 – Scale down your holiday plans.
Because adults sometimes have an overly idealistic view of the holidays that springs from their childhood experiences, this strategy can be tough to do.
Scaling down your plans involves letting go of your “perfect dream” for the holidays.
Essentially, know that you don’t have to repeat that special holiday memory you have in your mind. You don’t have to find the perfect gift, spend the most money or have a room stacked with wrapped packages to show your love to others.
Ascribe to the theory that, “It’s the thought that counts.” Most people will never remember the cool thing you got for them that one year. But they will have warm memories of the time you spent together as a family.
Holiday Stress Relief Secret #4 – Take shortcuts to save time.
Figure out easier ways to do things that will provide more time for other tasks and activities.
One good example: Rather than baking the pies, order them from a nearby restaurant that’s known for its delicious baked goods.
When shopping, don’t be afraid to select gift cards. The fact is that many people prefer receiving a gift card as they can then choose exactly what they want.
Gift cards are easy to shop for, satisfy nearly everyone and will cost you less in wrapping paper. Basically, gift cards are “no fuss and no muss.”
Another great option is to do avoid the traffic jams and long lines at the mall, and do all your shopping online.
Holiday Stress Relief Secret #5 – Choose what you want to do.
Ponder what the holidays truly mean to you and then express that meaning in your celebrations. Avoid getting caught up in the commercialism that has taken over the entire holiday season.
Some would say “it’s all about the shopping.” However, it’s worth your time to think about what ideas you hope to portray to your friends and loved ones during the holidays.
Let go of feeling required to plan and carry out elaborate, lavish celebrations. Maybe you’d really rather have smaller, more intimate gatherings with friends spread out over a month or two, rather than a big whoop-de-doo that makes it difficult to really connect with others.
The best way to teach your children that the holidays are about giving to others is to take them to visit local charities or even to serve meals at a soup kitchen.
This year, make the decision to reduce your holiday stress. By shedding the urge to be perfect, beginning planning earlier & spreading out tasks, scaling down expectations, and using shortcuts to save time, you’ll bring your tension level way down.
Think about what you really want the holidays to mean to you and your family.
Then, you can let go of expectations based on the past and really enjoy your time together. And ultimately, isn’t that what the family get-togethers are for?