The shopping and crowds. The back-to-back diet-busting parties. The interminable chats with the in-laws. Talk about stressful. The average American spends 42 hours a year on holiday activities. That's one standard work week spent shopping, wrapping and returning presents, attending holiday parties, and traveling from place to place. Often these extra activities get squeezed into already busy schedules. We understand how easy it is to feel not so wonderful at this most wonderful time of the year. Here are some holiday stress-busting tips to help you dodge the seasonal blues and stay happy, healthy, and energized.
Know your spending limit.
• Lack of money is one of the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season. This year, set a budget, and don't spend more than you've planned. It's okay to tell your child that a certain toy costs too much. Don't buy gifts that you'll spend the rest of the year trying to pay off.
• Give something personal. You can show love and caring with any gift that is meaningful and personal. It doesn't have to cost a lot. Use words instead of an expensive gift to let people know how important they are to you. Make a phone call or write a note and share your feelings.
Get organized then divide and conquer.
• Make lists or use an appointment book to keep track of tasks to do and events to attend.
• Share the tasks. You don't have to do everything yourself. Share your "to do" list with others. Spend time with friends and family while you share tasks like decorating, wrapping gifts, and preparing the holiday meal.
• Try not to put pressure on yourself to create the perfect holiday for your family. Focus instead on the traditions that make holidays special for you. And remember that just because it's a holiday, family problems don't go away. If you have a hard time being around your relatives, it's okay to set limits on your time at events and visits.
Create the holiday you want.
• When the holidays come around, there may be pressures pulling you in all directions off your center. Make clear decisions about how you want to spend your time and resources. Do it early. Consider what is most important to you. Learn to say no. It's okay to say "no" to events that aren't important to you. This will give you more time to say "yes" to events that you do want to attend. What memories will you look back on when the season winds down? Involve the family also. A little advance planning can help identify areas where you could cut back. Maybe nobody in your family enjoys certain functions. If so, be ready to RSVP with a polite no thank you.
Involve your kids.
• It's a part of all holidays that people get thrown off schedule. Remember, eating and going to sleep at roughly the same time each day is good for children. Kids feel more secure when their days follow a predictable order. It improves their moods, and helps to create a peaceful household. Of course, a regular schedule isn't always possible during the holidays. You can offset holiday chaos by involving your children in holiday planning. Having a say in the planning can help your kids feel more in control during busy times- and they’ll know what to expect too.
Take care of yourself.
• Take deep breaths, eat well and exercise before your holiday visits. You will be amazed how getting the circulation moving will help loosen the body and relax the mind. Be mindful of your breathing, making sure you are getting plenty of air. And drink lots of water. Get the sleep you need, don’t each too much sugar, keep the drinking in check and don’t overdo it. Stress will push your body and make staying calm much more difficult. Make sure you keep with your regular workout or exercise routine! This will keep you strong and healthy and also allow for some de-stress time! Therefore, take care of your body and it will take care of you.
Here are a few more tips that may help cope with the holidays, if applicable!
• Try something new. Take a vacation with a family member or friend.
• Spend time with people who care about you.
• Volunteer your time to help others. Spending time with those in need can help you feel less isolated.
• If you are religious, take time to reflect on the spiritual significance of the holidays.
• Try to appreciate the good things you have now instead of focusing on the past.
• Stay active. Get out. Go for a walk. Window shop.
• Accept feelings of sadness or loneliness. These feelings might not go away just because it's the holidays.
• Get help if you need it. Don't be embarrassed to ask for help any time of the year.
Enjoy the moment! Your holidays are special times! Happy Holidays!