While the holidays certainly are a wonderful time to share and celebrate with loved ones, they can also be busy, harried and stressful, wreaking havoc on our immune systems and sending us on long shopping sprees, keeping us out late at one of many holiday parties and not leaving much space for rest.
If you'd like to avoid holiday burnout and blues, it's important to start the season with a sense of balance and strategy in mind. It actually is quite possible to celebrate the season fully, while also maintaining your equilibrium. Here are seven tips for staying sane and stress-free all season long.
5 Strategies for Less Stress this Holiday Season:
Define Boundaries. As the holiday party invitations begin to fill up your mailbox and inbox, take inventory of when you will say YES and when you will say NO. Where do you really want to spend your time this season? Take the time to determine what activities will serve your life and your schedule, and build in a little wiggle room to take a night off, cozy up at home and enjoy some rest. Trust me, you'll be glad you did, and your loved ones and coworkers will respect you more for saying NO when you needed it.
Take Care of Yourself. Sure, it's a the season of giving, and it's a wonderful time to share yourself and the fruits of your labor, but don't give away the farm. Remember that you won't be much fun to be around if you're wiped out and anxious, so make a point to do things that keep you feeling energized and healthy. Keep showing up at the gym, to yoga class or to your weekly jogging group to keep your body feeling healthy and strong. If you feel stress creeping in early, schedule a massage or acupuncture session to manage your anxiety. Remember that slow and steady wins the race, so remain committed to all the things that keep you grounded and balanced, even as the energy level around you heats up.
Watch Your Spending. Create a realistic budget for your gift expenses and really stick to it, so your post holiday bills don't bowl you over in the new year. Spend responsibly and be honest about what is possible for you to give this year. If your budget seems lower than you'd like, try to maintain perspective and be creative. Can you make, bake or create artistic gifts for loved ones? People love gifts that obviously came from the heart, and you'll love finishing the new year with a balanced checkbook.
Consume with Care. While it's certainly a perfect time to indulge and enjoy seasonal treats with friends and family, it's not wise to go completely overboard when it comes to sweets and beverages. Be mindful of just how far off the deep end you're going with sugar and alcohol consumption, and remember that your diet is literally what fuels you forward through the rest of the year. If you blow it early, you may find yourself wishing you'd remembered moderation. Commit to healthy habits now, and enjoy high energy all season long.
Psychologically Prepare. If time with family or social situations are already stressful activities for you, prepare in advance. Take time to acknowledge the patterns that create added stress for you, and come up with realistic ways to manage yourself and your time so as to avoid bad habits or emotional meltdowns. If you need to schedule extra time to vent to your close friends, do it. Prior to arriving at a stressful event, get good rest and practice some calming, deep breathing to keep you grounded. Remember, you are in total control of your time and your energy, so make your peace of mind a priority!
Mira Roberts studied writing at New York University, graduating with a BA in English Literature before pursuing a career in media, marketing and management with PARADE Magazine, Portfolio Magazine, AltDaily, skirt! and lululemon athletica. A full time mother, writing instructor and part-time freelance writer, Mira lives and laughs with her family in Norfolk, VA.
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