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The holidays are here! It’s time to dig out the ugly sweaters and dust off the decorations.
While this is a fun time of year, it can be incredibly stressful and exhausting. To help keep things light and enjoyable for you (and those around you 😉 here are a few tips to keep life on an even keel.
Make It Easy
Gift-giving, cooking, decorating, parties. These can be a pleasure, but they can also lead to undue amounts of stress. The spirit of the season easily becomes lost if too much stress rears it’s head. So make the effort but opt for the easy route whenever you can. And remember: Easy doesn’t have to mean boring. DIY gifts and decorations are great options if you’re short on cash. Gift cards, while not always “special,” allow your giftee to choose something they really want. If you’re short on ideas, peruse Pinterest for tons of suggestions. Handmade gifts and decorations can be simple and are ones that people tend to keep forever. If you’re cooking for a group, look for pre-cut options in the grocery store, quick recipes, or order sides or a main dish from a restaurant; anything that can feed and nourish your loved ones without you tearing out your hair. And never underestimate the power of a potluck. Many hands make light work!
If you’ve got a big party coming up, plan ahead to help keep stress to a minimum. People love to contribute, so if someone asks what they can bring, see above comment about the potluck!
The reason for a party is to celebrate the season and enjoy the company of friends and family. It’s not to make yourself miserable.
It’s proven that when we hit a wall and need to decompress, breathing and simple exercises or a short walk can do wonders. Try to maintain your program if you are an exercise devotee, or make a point to incorporate stretches and deep breathing at the end of your day. Self care is a huge component of eliminating holiday stress, and it’s not uncommon for this effort to disappear during the holidays. Before you can help and do for others, it’s important to do for yourself. Maybe that means limiting your shopping excursions (hello, Amazon), ordering more takeout, spending more time watching holiday movies with the kids, or booking a massage. Whatever you do, make the effort to keep things mellow. You’ll feel better for it in the end.
Life can start to snowball once the pangs of stress kick in. This kind of response can lead to overspending, crabby tirades and unfriendly interactions. It’s important to keep in mind that the reason for the season is not that you move mountains so you can bake grandma’s favorite cookies or get the best gift ever for your dad. If you take a moment to take stock of what you are grateful for and what you have, that can help adjust your perspective and keep you centered. Some people take the time to volunteer, others find joy in small acts of kindness. Zooming out and seeing the bigger picture helps to reveal trivial matters. Best of all, if your focus is gratitude and thanks, that type of attitude can be infectious.
No matter what, the holidays are not a finite experience. They return year after year. This means there’s always a chance for a do-over. Since you always have another chance at a great holiday season, this allows plenty of room to ease up a little on your expectations. So go easy on yourself, and seasons greetings!
About the Author:
With SpiritFinder, Ms. Scott offers a forum where those living with anxiety and depression can discuss their experiences.