If holiday stress statistics are anything to go by, nearly 85% people experience stress during the Holidays owing to the lack of time, money or family conflicts. In today’s guide, we will give you some easy tips that can help you cope with holiday stress.
1. Prepare yourself mentally
Your family members are counting on you to deliver the Holiday magic with cooking, cleaning, baking and decorating. If this is a thing that happens every year, all you need to do is prepare yourself mentally at the beginning of each Holiday season. With mental preparedness, you will have more time and patience to enjoy the demands of the season.
2. Stay in the moment
Practice mindfulness; it is the best way to beat holiday stress. Instead of thinking of the pending chores, focus all your attention on the task at hand. For some people, it helps focusing on the breath; for others, it helps to simply observe all that is going on in the mind. With practiced mindfulness, you get to simply ‘observe’ instead of think and feel. Daily meditation-20 minutes in the morning and evening-can also reduce the clutter of thoughts.
3. Make small changes
What causes holiday stress: In most cases, it is handling guests, huge amounts of cooking, cleaning and shopping. Talk to your family and see if you can make simple changes that can reduce this overload. For example, you can shop online and beat the crowds-if you aren’t already. You can also do a potluck or eat outside instead of taking all the load of cooking upon yourself. Enlist the rituals and habits that no longer feel right and eliminate them this year. Suggest alternative habits and practices that will make your holiday more joyful. This can take away a lot of stress.
4. Spend some time alone
Family gatherings can sometimes be laced with negative patterns. Try taking a walk, going to a coffee shop, to the library or the movies from time to time. You could also read a book or knit, paint or do some other solo activities. This will help clear your mind.
5. Set your priorities
Holidays are all about being thankful. If holiday shopping is causing money related stress, cut back a bit. Set your priorities straight and have talk about it with your family members. Plan some non-negotiable events/presents and activities so you avoid disappointments and save money.
6. Get an early start
You can get a lot done in the weeks before the Holidays. With early start, you are more in control and can avoid the rushed feeling. For example, you can complete your Holiday shopping, cleaning and decorating several weeks ahead. You could also bake goodies in larger batches that have a longer shelf life earlier during the month. This is an easy way to beat holiday stress which comes with doing all at once closer to the Holidays.
7. Fight the blues by helping others
Often Holidays can lead to memories of a loved one who has passed on or can’t be there with you owing to the distance. In such a case, you must develop an intervention strategy to beat the blues. The best way to do so is by volunteering for a local charity and spending time fruitfully helping others. The love and happiness you will get doing so is unsurpassable.
8. Learn to say No
Family members often knowingly or unknowingly impose their expectations during the season. But you must know your limits and stay within them. You cannot always be the Super Mom or Super Dad or Super Grandma. As stated above, set your priorities and stick to them. Talk to your family members about the importance of staying within your limits and how essential it is for your mental and physical well being.
9. Focus on non-materialistic pleasures of the holidays
Now is a good time to teach kids about difference between materialistic and non-materialistic gifts. Commercialism often takes center stage during the holidays unknowingly adding to the holiday stress. Explain to your kids that the more expensive gifts do not always mean a better holiday. Ground yourself in simple pleasures and in the fundamental principles that matter most to you. Holidays should ideally be a time to reflect, start a hobby, or meditate, pray and, in general, take care of your body and mind.
10. Take care of your body
Practice good nutrition and take the time to exercise. Holidays aren’t as much about the food as they are about maintaining good thoughts, being kind and loving. Holidays are the time to enjoy things too-but in moderation. While you need not strive for weight reduction at this time, you must definitely try for weight maintenance.
11. Maintain a sense of humor
This is the easiest way to manage and beat holiday stress. Try and see humor in all situations. Laugh and smile a lot. This is infectious and soon everyone around you will be smiling too! Most importantly, forgive and forget-try not to make more or less of an experience or event than it deserves.
Holiday stress affects everyone differently. The suggestions above will help most people but if they don’t, then do not hesitate to talk to a loved one or to a professional. With help, you too will find the resilience and strength needed to face any challenge the Holidays may bring.