As exciting as the festive season can be, particularly through the eyes of a child, holiday stress can be very overwhelming for adults.
With so much hustle and bustle during the short time between Thanksgiving and New Years, I wanted to help you all find ways to reduce your stress. These 7 simple steps will help you avoid burnout, embrace change, grow with new traditions and family, and most importantly remember the true meaning of the season.
7 Steps to Reduce Overwhelm
Prioritize self care
Everyone is so busy thinking about what to buy for whom that often we forget to take care of ourselves. When we let ourselves get run down, it is those around us who seem to suffer as we tend to lash out and completely lose sight of the magic of the season. To avoid the momma-meltdown, make sure you set aside time for self care…this can be a warm bath, a short nap, a haircut, lunch with a friend, etc. The only requirement is it must be something you do, for you.
Plan ahead for holiday shopping and cooking
Just a little bit of planning can go a long way in your overall stress reduction during the holidays. Create a shopping list and a budget – include everything from gifts to the food you will need to prepare. As you purchase, wrap your gifts, so you don’t end up with a bunch of wrapping to do at the last minute.
Boundaries are a way to navigate challenging situations and they can help reduce stress. This is particularly important as we live through an ongoing pandemic and peoples fear is at an all time high. Setting boundaries ensures that we take care of ourselves physically, emotionally, and financially.
Stick to your regular routine and define non-negotiables
Having a routine is critical for stress reduction. I say “routine” and not “schedule,” because a schedule implies rigidity. You want to be more flexible so as not to lead to more stress should you have to make adjustments. Make sure you are clear about what part of your routine you are committed to always following – maybe it’s celery juice in the morning, or HMDS, or certain supplements…and it can be multiple aspects of your routine, but whatever that non-negotiable aspect is, be prepared to stick with it. Maintaining at least a certain aspect of your routine will ensure that you feel more in control of the day.
Be realistic about your expectations and remember that you are the only person who is responsible for your own happiness. If you go into a family situation expecting everyone to agree with your opinions, particularly in today’s world, you are playing into the narrative of division. It’s ok to have differing opinions – keep this in mind always. Before any gatherings, you should ground yourself in happiness and remember the importance of human connection and interaction. Tell yourself that if a topic comes up that may trigger you in some way, that you will remove yourself from the conversation. While you can’t live without expectations, you can lower them and manage them in a healthy way. The less you expect, the more pleasantly surprised you will be.
Take the time to breathe. We are in such a hurry these days, it is worth actually setting reminders for yourself to stop and take deep breaths. Slow, deep breathing can literally change your state of mind. I think we can all agree more of this would improve the overall mental health of the holiday season!
This is my personal favorite! Practicing gratitude on a daily basis has a multitude of positive benefits, such as the increase in overall happiness and positivity. Gratitude facilitates helping behavior, and when you help someone they are more likely to pay it forward and help somebody else. A gratitude practice trains the brain to be more in tune with experiencing gratitude…and what you put out into the universe, you will also receive. Try to practice being grateful for everything, no matter how inconsequential it may seem…even for the challenges in your life, because after all, a grateful person sees those challenges as the gift of a new opportunity!
So this holiday season, or anytime you feel stress begin to build, remember that there are simple ways to make yourself feel better. I hope that you will find these ideas will help you make room for more joy.
To your health and happiness,
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