While you may not be 'dashing through the snow' this holiday season, chances are you'll find yourself dashing from store to store and checking your list twice for gifts, or from house to house spreading holiday cheer to all of those you love. Whatever you have planned for this time of cheer, that excitement and bustle can easily become the harbinger of holiday stress for many. The chaotic schedules, tight budgets, and busy crowds that come with this time of celebration, gifting, and traveling, creates a whirlwind of stress and anxiety for many people. Stress to have the best holiday decor, stress to make the best party dish, stress to give the perfect gift, stress to be the perfect host, stress to deal with houseguests, the list is neverending. We eventually end up putting so much extra pressure on ourselves that our good tidings and cheer just turn into a battle of the holiday blues.
In fact, according to a study conducted, more than 80% of us find the holiday season to be stressful. But it doesn't have to be. We're outlining a few simple tips to help you keep your holiday stress under control, so you can enjoy the most wonderful time of the year, remembering what the holidays are truly about.
Start your planning in advance
Most holiday stress stems from feeling like there is just not enough time to do everything. From buying gifts, to decorating and planning parties, there's a lot on your list to get through. Make a plan to get ahead before the season even arrives. One of the best things you can do is to start gift shopping earlier in the year. You will typically know your family's likes, wants, and needs. If you see things throughout the year that you know would make a great gift, grab it then. It may even be on sale, so you will save time AND money! Make an ongoing list in your phone or planner of who you're shopping for, and what you've purchased so you have a running inventory of all your gifts ahead of the season.
The same goes for decor, household items, and even non perishable food items. Many holiday and seasonal items are put out in stores right after the start of fall, if you plan to host holiday dinner, or even host out of town guest, grab the most important items before the season sets in, so you already have the things you need. This includes lights, ornament, canned foods, baking supplies, and even things like guest towels, extra sheets, etc. Doing this throughout the year, and keeping track of what you have and what you need will considerably cut down on the trips to the store, and also leave more in your budget for unexpected or important expenses when the holidays arrive.Set Your Priorities
As you make your list and check it twice, give some hierarchy to the things you have to do. Before you get overcommit to attending too many gatherings, or get overwhelmed by too many tasks, you need to decide what's most important for you during this time. You don't want to make it to New Year's Eve before you feel like you can catch your breath. Think about which traditions and activities have the most positive impact not only on those around you, but also positively impact you, mentally, physically and emotionally. Think about how you want to spend your time. Do you want more time to spend with your kids playing? Do you enjoy cooking and baking holiday treats? Do you want to grab some couch time drinking hot cocoa and watching holiday movies? Do you need a day of full rest and quiet between activities? Add the things that bring you peace to the very top of your priority list, and then eliminate superfluous activities. You don't need to feel overwhelmed by a flurry of baking, caroling, shopping, sending cards, visiting relatives and other activities that leave you exhausted by January. Give yourself the gift of picking only a few favorite activities and really enjoy them, while skipping the rest.
Know your limits
The biggest stressor is the feeling of self-doubt and the need for perfection during the holiday season. Regardless of what others say, whichever way you and your family are most comfortable with is the “right way” to do the holidays. This may mean fewer gatherings with friends and family, fewer traditional events, fewer trips, unconventional holiday meal times, etc. The most important thing is to listen to your body and know your limits. Don't push yourself to the extreme trying to create something you can't and won't fully enjoy. Even if you get pushback from some of those around you, you can say no. There is so much pressure to do “all the things” when it comes to the holidays. But when we pressure ourselves to squeeze these extra activities into our already busy schedules, we magnify our stress levels tenfold. The season starts to go from 'holly jolly' to 'hellish' really quickly. So rather than causing unnecessary anxiety, learn to say no. Stand firm in your decision, and be okay with politely declining invitations. Wouldn’t you rather have a relaxed, yet, memorable season than a frazzled season jam-packed with a blur of stressful memories?
Don't abandon your healthy habits
When we are met with stressful situations it can throw us off our normal routine. We start to skip our meals, sacrifice our self-care, cut corners on our sleep and meal schedule. These things then begin to impact our bodies and our mental health more than we realize. It's our healthy habits that support our immune health, and during the cold season, immunity is more important than ever. It also much easier to overindulge in sweet, fatty, decadent treats, eats, and drinks during the holidays. With so many gatherings and activities with delicious food options, we can allow ourselves to lose sight of any healthy habits we've worked hard to add into our lifestyle. It's important to remember that it's all about balance. We don't have to deny ourselves a treat or delicious meal during the holidays, but enjoy it all in moderation. Also try to keep your body in its normal routine as much as possible. Stay hydrated with water or refreshing Purpose Tea, do your best to keep up with exercise. Even a 10-minute walk can help improve your mood. Maintain healthy sleep habits. Make time in the morning for quiet reflection or meditation before enjoying a healthy breakfast. Allow yourself to maintain a close-to-normal state and prevent stressors.
Make time for "you"
You want to make the holidays memorable for all those you love, but in doing so, it's easy to lose sight of yourself and what brings you joy during this time of year. While you are focusing on everyone else, make sure to make some time to take care of yourself. Think about what you want and need. Take a solo drive to look at the lights, steal some time for a long soak in the bath, go for a walk with your kids or dog, enjoy some quiet time with a bottle of tea. Give yourself a gift you've been eyeing all year as a reward. You must take care of yourself before you can do anything that comes along with the holiday season.
The holidays should feel joyous and merry, not like a marathon. While you may enjoy spending time with family and friends, it's easy to get overwhelmed in the pursuit of the "perfect" holiday season. The key to having a stress-less holiday is all about preparation and setting boundaries. Make sure you are managing your holiday stress so that you can embrace those special moments.
When you need a few moments during the season to give yourself a boost, reach for a bottle of refreshing, delicious, flavorful Purpose Tea and get more of what you need to enjoy the holiday season!