Holiday stress tips abound in every check-out line publication, and it’s no wonder! We’ve made the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas the most stressful time of the year. Here are 10 holiday stress tips that might make you feel better.
10. Keep a gratitude list. Just put a piece of paper and a pencil on the counter and every time you’re grateful for something, jot it down. Hot coffee? A helping hand? Good news in the paper? A cat who tolerates patting? The ability to do a good deed? Being grateful will help you gain perspective and reduce stress.
9. Do a good deed. And tell yourself about it. Let someone in line ahead of you. Commiserate with a stressed-out mom and tell her she’s doing a good job. Write that check to the animal shelter and add your canned goods to the collection. Buy an extra packet of socks for the homeless shelter. Ask yourself, who can I make feel better today. You have that power!
8. Be kind to your future self. Hang your coat up, put your keys back, fill up the car as a gift to your future self. Future Deborah is always grateful when she races out the door and knows where her cell phone is, because Current Deborah always puts in on the charger. Think for a minute about what is most stressful to you on a daily basis and figure out how to solve it. Eliminating daily stressors is really helpful this time of year.
7. Be kind. Be patient. Get enough sleep. You will feel less stress if you contribute less stress! Stress comes about when EVERYTHING is important. But you can’t do it all/be it all/have it all. Be kind to yourself, your family and others. Assume best intent. Depressed? Read about the Holiday Blues here.
6. Everything in moderation. You don’t have to make six kinds of Christmas cookies! Make two kinds. Simmer down a bit. Moderate your decorating, moderate your gift-giving, and moderate your holiday stress. Give everyone in the office/book group/volunteer space/mail man the same thing, for example, if you do those sort of gifts. Make a couple batches of Spicy Caramel Popcorn , tie it up in cellophane with a holiday ribbon, and you’re done!
Top Five Holiday Stress Tips
5. Make a plan. I read recently that you should manage your PRIORITIES not your TIME. Decide what two or three things are most important to get done in whatever categories you have (Work, Home, Volunteer, Family, etc.) and do those first. If you need to get seventy things done between now and Christmas, prioritize, divide and conquer. You can control your stress a little when you recognize that you don’t have to do it all today!
4. Get some exercise. It’s been proven over and over that exercise increases endorphins that make you feel good, keeps your joints lubricated and helps moderate your mood. This might be one of the easiest and most important holiday stress tips. Go outside if you can, but even walking inside is helpful.
3. Stop and smell the cinnamon. Try to be present and enjoy what the season offers. Look at the lights. Enjoy the decorations. Make it part of your plan to attend a holiday concert, tree-lighting, and carol sing. Volunteer to gift wrap. Think about last year. Did you wish you’d done something? Put it on your list this year and make it a priority.
2. Eat right. It will do two things for you: eliminate guilt (always a stressor) and fuel your body in a healthy way that makes you feel better. If people want to bring food, make it berries or fruit.
1. Just say NO. This is the number one thing you can do to control your holiday stress. Say NO to over-eating, over-buying, and over-booking your time.