5 Tips for a Less Stressful Holiday Season
When “ho, ho, ho” starts to turn into “no, no, no,” you may be suffering from holiday burnout. Fatigue, stress and irritability are not uncommon this year, as we deal with all of our everyday stressors in addition to extra-busy schedules, end-of-year work deadlines, hosting and attending events, and family challenges.
If the holiday season has you identifying with Scrooge this year, the following 5 tips can help you reduce the stress of the season:
1) Make a budget and stick to it. Many people are stressed out about finances this time of year, with the pressure of gifts and parties and travel. If you fall into this camp year after year, take the time to set a budget for the season and keep yourself accountable. Reducing money-related worries can make a tremendous difference.
2) Be generous in other ways. When we give, we feel better than when we get. Give your time to a neighbor or organization in need. Give compliments to friends and strangers alike. Be generous by running an errand for someone with mobility or schedule issues or sending a card to someone who is likely having a hard time this year.
3) Maintain healthy habits. When you get out of your routine, your mind and body can both suffer. If you don’t have time to get to the gym, take a 20-minute walk over lunch. If you have five holiday parties in one week, make sure your breakfast and lunch are healthy, balanced meals so you never walk into a room starving.
4) Do things that make you smile. If you don’t love attending a certain holiday parade or tree lighting, maybe this is the year to make a new tradition for your family. On the other hand, if you adore mistletoe, sprinkle more of it around. If you enjoy holiday music, play it loud and sing along – if you can’t stand it, make a different playlist that inspires you. Focus on the positive as much as you can – laughter really is good medicine no matter what the season.
5) Expect less, accept more. When families get together, all of those old habits and issues can crop up before the appetizers are even served. If you know that your younger brother is going to show up late and complain about everything, don’t expect him to be charming this year. If your kids always get wired when they’re tired, accept that late-night events are going to be less-than perfect. Expectations can derail events before they even start – and that includes yourself. Don’t expect too much this time of year – sometimes “good enough” is simply great.
“Holidays can be delightful – and they can be dreadful – depending on circumstances,” said Physician Assistant Allie Nowak. “When you can focus on the aspects of the season that you and your family love the most, then you can let go of some of the things that weigh you down. If nothing else, take 10 deep breaths before you go to bed and first thing in the morning to clear your head and release a little of that holiday stress.”