10 Ways to Beat Holiday Stress

The holidays are nearly here. All the travel, cooking, eating, parties, visiting family, gift giving, and schedule filling. That’s a whole lot of opportunities for stress. So I’ve gathered up 10 tips to avoid all the holiday stress. May your days be merry, bright, and calm.

  1. Say no. It’s okay if you can’t do everything. You’re allowed to say no, even if all you are going to do is watch Netflix. Giving ourselves a break and some self-care does wonders in reducing stress levels.
  2. Make “Me Time”. With all the things on our “to-do” lists, it can be tempting to squeeze everything in. But this leaves our “self-care” time out of the calendar, which is vital for reducing stress. Make time to take a bath or read a book.
  3. Stop aiming for “perfect”. I know that wrapping each gift impeccably after baking and decorating homemade cookies all before decorating your perfectly clean home sounds nice, but it’s unrealistic. You brought store-bought cookies to the class party? No big deal. Every one is just as happy and you didn’t have to deal with more worry.
  4. Get outside. The weather may be frightfully cold in some places, but as the Swedes assure us: there is no bad weather, only bad clothing. So, dress appropriately and get outside! Being outdoors in the fresh air with the ability to see nature releases feel-good hormones in your body and is a great break from the chaos.
  5. Focus on family and friends. It can be tempting to hop on our phones and scroll through or to turn on the TV, but tuning in to the people around us gives us all those fuzzy, feel-good emotions that make the holidays special and warm, and keep the stress at bay.
  6. Try something new. Instead of doing the same thing every year, switch it up a bit to keep things fresh, fun, and exciting. And it can totally be something small and quirky. Such as trying a delicious new dessert recipe that involves the whole family or including a game during the festivities. Trying something new is a great way to get out of the holiday stress mindset.
  7. Eat calming foods. Healthy foods will help you to maintain good mental health anyways, but some foods have positive effects on stress relief. Try eating leafy greens, oatmeal, cashews, blueberries, and dark chocolate for a little help.
  8. Meditate or repeat a mantra. Deep breathing, meditation, and positive affirmations all help to shift the mind towards calming thoughts. Try breathing slowly and deeply while you travel. Or making time in the evenings to meditate. Or even to repeat mantras such as “Peace is within my reach” or “I am calm”.
  9. Let it go. Unannounced guest show up? Your dog ate all the appetizers? Roll with the punches as much as you can and shrug off the little snafus. Expect some things to go awry, because they always do. Back-up plans help.
  10. Look on the bright side. Shifting our perspective on the holidays makes a world of difference in our stress levels. Take the above examples. Unannounced guest? The more the merrier. Dog ate the appetizers? Peanut butter on toast it is! Look at what went right and all the reasons your time during the holidays is unique.

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