The rush of Thanksgiving has come to an end and Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails are no longer flooding your inbox, yet the holiday season is not quite over and you may be wondering how to reduce holiday stress this year. While the holiday season is supposed to be filled with cheer, it can often cause more stress than intended. Below is a list of tips and destressing activities to try to incorporate in the upcoming weeks so you can really enjoy your time with loved ones.
1. Keep to your routine (the best you can)
Of course things may be a bit different, weekends are filled with holiday shopping or preparing big meals. Or perhaps evenings are packed with holiday events with work, family or friends. All the merriment can through off your usual routine. Whether that’s having to skip your usual workout class or going to bed a bit later than you usually do. It can also mean your usual healthy eating habits are harder to follow.
Enjoying the holidays and this special time of year is great and all but also do what is best for you routine-wise. Identify what is most important for you to be able to function during the holiday season and set boundaries where necessary. Perhaps getting 8 hours of sleep is most important for you, then try to duck out of events as appropriately early as you feel necessary to get the amount of sleep you need. Or limit the amount of alcohol you consume at events to ensure you get a better night’s rest.
Or perhaps all of the extra treats around this time of year aren’t usually what you choose to eat. Instead of feeling guilty for eating some extra sweets, focus your other meals on healthy, nutrient dense foods to ensure your days feel more balanced. Meal prepping some healthy breakfasts and lunches is a great way to get in extra healthy protein and fats to keep you satiety. Also having healthy snacks such as nuts with you to avoid filling up on whatever is quickest and easiest in moments of hunger (that might not always be the best!).
2. Plan ahead (where you can)
Planning ahead can be booking restaurants and buying presents in advance but another great way to plan ahead is to have a budget set beforehand.
If you are looking to spare yourself a day of having to cook food, booking ahead of time Christmas meals out is a great idea. Or considering catering if that is an option. Another great idea is to try food delivery or food pick up services. If you are planning to host a big dinner, having all the food delivered to your home a day or two beforehand can save a lot of time. Plus gives a window so in case anything is forgotten you still have time to run to the store.
With meals and presents, it is not a bad idea to set a budget beforehand on how much you are willing to spend. This will not only help you to make decisions that align with your budget but will keep stress levels lower in the new year.
3. Manage expectations
Managing expectations can be with friends, family but especially with yourself! There is only so much one person can do and avoid the pitfall of trying to do everything optimally.
Realistically plan for what makes the most sense for you. If you are hosting a dinner party, consider asking guests to bring desserts or drinks so that some pressure is taken off of you as a host.
If you are having a gift swap, set a reasonable price range for everyone to buy within. Some family’s like to set a $20 limit on all gifts being exchanged. This way you don’t have to overextend yourself financially and the holidays can be more focused on what truly matters like time with loved ones!
4. Stay active
Staying active doesn’t always mean spending an hour or two in the gym every day! Staying active during the holiday seasons can simply be going for a 30 minute walk in the morning or evening or finding a Pilates video online to do a quick workout from home. Prioritize some movement most days which will keep you energized. Less is more when it is sustainable!
5. Try destressing through self-care
There are plenty of ways to destress that don’t require too much time. There are also ways to make plans that center around destressing. Some examples are:
- Have a Christmas movie night – this is a great way to relax, laugh and get into the holiday cheer without overextending yourself
- Find a good book to read before bed or an audio book to listen to on the go
- Take a bath in the evenings to relax before bed
- Drink soothing tea or light some candles
- Find a 10 minute guided breathwork audio to listen to when you need a moment or before bed
- Relax and sweat it out in the sauna
- Find some time to journal even for just 5 minutes – if you find that writing your feelings down is a good release