At a time when we are taking time off from work and spending time with loved ones, our stress level should be low, but in reality, it can be one of the most stressful times of the year. Although a stress-free holiday is probably not possible, it IS possible to manage your stress in such a way that you can ENJOY the holiday season without pulling your hair out.
Here are five tips for you to help you enjoy and maybe even cherish your holiday season this year.
- Manage your expectations
The media and advertisers would have us believe that a magical holiday is just within our reach. Striving for that perfect magical moment will only raise the pressure and increase your stress levels.
Creating realistic expectations about the holiday season and ditching perfectionism will help decrease your stress levels and make your season more joyful. Focus on creating memories with your family and friends instead of chasing after and buying material things that you won’t remember in a year or two.
- Control your emotions
The holiday season is one of the few times when entire families get together in one place, and it is also a reminder that there are difficult personalities to handle. Instead of driving yourself crazy trying to change the difficult people in your house remind yourself that the reason for the season is to spend time with the people you love and that this too shall pass.
When you can control your reactions and emotions when dealing with difficult people, you stay in control. Allowing other people to annoy or provoke you is allowing someone else to be in control. If you are dealing with a toxic personality, be kind and gracious but minimize your interaction with them and remove yourself from the situation.
- Make self-care a priority
Sometimes the hustle and bustle of the season can be too much, and you just need to get away, take a few deep breaths and recharge. The holiday season is a time of giving of ourselves to our families, friends and those in need but you have to remember to take time out to take care of yourself so you can serve the people that you love. When you are well rested, it is harder for the little things like traffic, co-workers or your children to get on your nerves. Scheduling time for self-care helps you refocus on what is most important to you during the holiday season and decrease your stress levels.
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule
When there is a lot to do, sleep is usually the first thing we let go, right? So here I am saying it, doctors’ orders: getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night will allow you to handle stress better and stay healthy. And just keeping it real – it also makes you less cranky.
- Prioritize your commitments
If you are prone to say yes to everything, then I am talking directly to you. Limiting how many things you do during the holiday season will help lower your stress levels. I know you KNOW that, but implementing it is a whole other matter, right?
Prioritize the activities and events you want to participate in and write them down. If someone asks you to do something, that isn’t on your list of priorities, say no. Try this strategy for one year and see if it makes an impact on how stressful your life is. If you are struggling to find the right way to say no, here is a great phrase to use. You are more than welcome to steal it.
“Thank you for asking, but I am not going to be able to help out this year.”
It’s gracious, and it allows you to revisit it next year. When the holiday season is over – you can evaluate the events, recipes, crafts you missed and the ones that only added more stress.
The Master Plan
Holidays are rarely perfect, and you shouldn’t expect them to be. Your sleep schedule is paramount. Choose your favorite activities, recipes and only do them for one year. Minimize your interactions with difficult personalities and detach is an interaction becomes harmful or toxic. If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a break and walk away.
I’m looking forward to hearing the strategies you use to simplify the holiday season. Comment below.