Holidays can be stressful! Eating all that amazing food, opening presents, decking the halls…it can all be a little much. Then comes the landslide of family and friends who are sure that they know what is best for you, your children, or your marriage. Oh! And the money that goes into Christmas gifts. It seems like everyone needs one: the teacher, the boss, the coworker, the neighbor, the kids, the husband. Goodness! We could go on and on for that list!
So how do you relieve holiday stress? Do you just sit there and grit your teeth with a crazed look in your eyes while you wait and see if this is the year you snap? Do you put on a happy face and wait for the snap or do you put on a happy face to just grin and bear it? Some of us just lower our expectations and live with the stress year after year. You don’t have to! I have come up with a list of key ways you can keep your sanity this holiday season!
These three practices will have you living in peace and joy with your family for the rest of the year!
Three Sure Fire Ways to Blast Holiday Stress
Focus quiets your mind and lets your thoughts flow, allowing for great ideas to come and stress to be released. As busy parents, we deal with the white noise of life all day long, every single day. The kids yelling, the television blaring, and the phone ringing all add up in your mind. They fog your ability to center. How are you able to make sensible decisions? How do you reduce the urge to second guess yourself.
Set aside time to reset, however that may be. Whether you meditate, listen to music, or go for quiet walks, give yourself a chance to recharge by centering your mind and allowing yourself to relax. Whatever it is you do, take time to get centered on YOU.
You don’t have to sit in a lotus position and chant ohm. Some people cook. Some people journal. Some people do yoga. Find something that gives you a sense of release.
There are so many benefits to focusing in this way. You can lower blood pressure, increase immunity, and promote longevity. You’ll be around for many more years to come to see your babies and grand-babies grow. Another huge benefit of of focus or meditation is the effect it can have on your mental health. It is proven that those who use some mental energy for focus can increase their mental health and overall mindset. A brain healthy mom is a happy mom!
Do you feel like you need more strength to fight your way through holiday shopping crowds? Does more it take extra energy to make it out of your family’s gatherings unscathed? Is depression or anxiety a part of your holiday season? Beat the holiday blues by keeping up with your current healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays be your excuse for this year’s extra weight or increased anxiety and stress. Taking control of your health going into the holiday season can ward off those after-holiday anxieties and stresses that stem from over-eating, not exercising, or not practicing self care.
It’s tempting to treat yourself constantly during the holiday season. It’s not just the Thanksgiving dinner that sets you back. Those three days afterwards can be a doozy. We often find ourselves lost in those few days, not having any need to be any particular place. This gives us time to become complacent. Once we hit Thanksgiving Thursday, that little voice in the back of your head gives you an excuse to eat those extra chocolates or skip that morning workout. I mean, who else is going to give you permission to mark the holidays from Thanksgiving all the way through New Year’s? (I know, right?! That’s a long time to control yourself!)
How do you stick to your health habits? If you walk or exercise daily, commit to continuing that during your holiday time off. You can look for an exercise partner to keep you honest during those moments you just want to give in to the holiday lazy monster. If you are in the healthy habit of drinking plenty of water every day, don’t let that slide. At the very least, find an accountability partner that will check in with you a couple times per week to make sure you keep your word. Too often we get comfortable for the holidays and let our regular schedules and habits slide. Give yourself a head start on tackling these issues by thinking about them now so you don’t have to play catch up in the post holiday season.
3. Go with the flow
Keep in mind: things rarely go as planned. The heat could go out, you could get snowed in with no guests, the turkey could get overcooked, but it won’t be the end of the world. When plans need to change, we can have a difficult time shifting gears. Like a toddler changing tasks, we have tantrums over transition. Remind yourself that what is important during the holiday season isn’t being perfect. What is important is spending time with family and friends that love you.
A prime way to go with the flow is to minimize your expectations. If you don’t have the expectation that the whole family will participate in a game of Pictionary, you won’t be disappointed if they don’t. Keep your vibrations positive and upbeat and you will sail through the season with comfort and joy.
The holidays are for relaxing, enjoying, and hot chocolate. You really can have an enjoyable season with your family and little ones if you plan ahead a bit. Are you aware that you are going to need more space around the holidays? Take advantage of your focusing time to remind yourself of the quiet and calm you feel when you are alone. Do holidays bring your mood down? Avoid depression by sticking with your healthy habits.