As you attend your holiday parties, engage in extra work, gift-giving, volunteering, family events, you’ll undoubtedly encounter stress… Some of it good, some of it not so good.
Here are 10 Tips to Help You Minimize Your Holiday Stress:
1. Budget: Stick to a predetermined budget. We get stressed when we know we’ve ‘blown’ our plan. Do your best to focus on simple presents, look for deals and don’t feel the need to impress.
2. Be Realistic: If you have visions of a Norman Rockwell Christmas with no issues, happy families and so forth, this will set you up for disappointment. Know that you may have times of happiness, stress and sadness; this time of year is nostalgic and often reminds us of times passed, people who are no longer with us and current challenges. Be kind to yourself.
3. Have Fun: Make sure to engage in something that is pure fun for you – it might be getting outdoors, attending your friends’ parties, giving humorous staff presents, watching Comedy Central, getting busy with a fun hobby – the point is to remember to calendar some FUN time for you.
4. Exercise: At this time of year, we tend to ignore diets, overindulge, sit indoors a lot (particularly when the weather is miserable) and we feel sluggish. Choose a day when it’s nice or miserable and dress accordingly. Go for a short or long walk and breathe in the cool air (unless it’s too cool – then protect your face) This will help you minimize stress and help you sleep better at night.
5. Buy for experience, not gadgets: When you’re struggling to buy gifts for someone, think about the experiences they enjoy. When you ask people, the gifts they remember involve an experience. Ex. bungee jumping, a trip to an island, camping, an exotic vacation, tickets to a music concert, an afternoon to ride an Indy car, etc. You get the idea…think about events, not things.
6. Eat as Healthy as You Can: We tend to eat the shortbread cookies, drink the rum and eggnog and eat the staff snacks at this time of year. People show up with gifts of chocolate, baking and more and its sheer willpower to say – “NO.’ To counteract less than perfect eating, add more veggies, fruits, whole grains, fish, supplements to your diet to offset the less than healthy eating. And, drink lots of water…we tend to be dehydrated at this time of year – especially if we live in cold climates.
7. Digital Diet – Unplug: At this time of social media, tech toys and constant information streams, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Take a digital diet and put down your laptop, iPhone, Android, tablet, drones, etc. and spend time with people you enjoy. Give yourself the gift of at least 2 hours during the week or on the weekend (more time). Turn off the sound on your smartphone – don’t check it for at least 2 hours. For those of us truly ‘plugged in’ this exercise will challenge you.
8. Do Something Good: Whether you volunteer, give money to the needy, buy presents and food for families in need, doing something good infuses the spirit of the season into your life. You can’t help but feel less stress when you make a positive difference to others!
9. Decorate with friends and family: To put you in the ‘mood,’ start decorating a bit – at your office, home, etc. Add some family photographs that you’ve stashed away, pull out the FUN decorations.
10. Have a Stay-Cation: Take a day on the weekend or a break between Christmas and New Year’s to stay home and sleep in, eat pancakes (or waffles or…), wear your PJ’s or really ugly sweats (yippee to comfy, ugly sweats!), stay off social media, your computer and phone (at least for a couple hours if you can) and read, talk with family, watch Netflix or other shows you’ve been craving to catch up with – in essence, unplug from the world and go ‘inward.’ Keep a journal, relax, daydream, do a hobby – take time to reflect on the year.