Holiday Time…brings visions of sugarplums, parties, and visits with family and friends. It can also bring tired feet, hours spent shopping for the “perfect gift”, as well as loneliness and depression for some.
Here are ten tips to help you get through the holidays, not become a victim of seasonal stress…and even enjoy this time of year!
1. Plan ahead: Holiday time is a whirl of parties, activities, and entertaining others. Get a good calendar and mark off specific days for shopping, baking, visiting friends and other activities. Before agreeing to a new commitment, CHECK the calendar, and say “NO” if the days are becoming too full.
2. Create a Budget: With the added expenses of gifts, travel, food and entertainment, the holidays can put a strain on your budget. Before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend ~ and then stick to it. Overspending now can lead to financial worries for months to come. Consider making gifts that have the personal touch (and cost less). A nice photo of a family member framed in a hand decorated frame can mean more than an expensive item.
3. Take care of yourself: All that extra shopping and socializing can leave you wiped out. It’s important to get enough sleep and eat nutritiously. Alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and rich holiday foods all create lethargy, depression and weight gain. Have a healthy snack before holiday parties so that you don’t go overboard on sweets, cheese or drinks. Try learning to create healthier versions of holiday favourites.
4. Get some exercise: Exercise has so many health and emotional benefits, and can help combat the holiday “battle of the bulge”.
5. Keep your expectations realistic: Don’t worry about having the perfect party, the perfectly decorated home, the perfect tree. It’s okay to have a less than magical family gathering. Children are going to spill things, adults may argue, and all of these are normal occurrences in most families.
6. Acknowledge how you feel: If someone close to you has recently died or you can’t be with loved ones, realize that it’s normal to feel sadness and grief. It’s OK to take time to cry or express your feelings. This is the time to reach out for support ~ if you are spending the holidays alone, plan to spend time with close friends.
7. Do something for others: Volunteering your time to help others also is a good way to lift your spirits and broaden your friendships.
8. Make some time for yourself: Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Take a walk at night and stargaze. Listen to soothing music. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.
9. Laugh! There are tons of holiday humor sites on the web, lots of jokes shared on the radio and by friends this time of year. Take a humor break each day, and indulge in laughter ~ a known stress reliever. Rent a holiday movie. Laughter shared with family members is even more fun, and can help everyone relax a little.
10. Seek professional help if you need it. Despite your best efforts, you may find yourself feeling persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face routine chores. If these feelings last for a while, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.
With these ten tips, you can de-stress your holidays and enjoy them more. May this one be the best ever!