We all love the holiday season but could do without the stress that inevitably comes along with it. For many, the holidays are a time of joy, sharing, and spending time with loved ones. But with that also comes the stress of trying to find the perfect gifts, preparing elaborate holiday meals, and squeezing another social event into your jam-packed schedule.
Elevating stress levels and a seemingly endless buffet of food and dessert tables can be a recipe for disaster over the holidays. This year, take a different approach by arming yourself with stress-busting tools to stay calm, cool, and collected, even at the peak of your holiday stress. Here are our five best tips to help you combat stress before it starts.
Tip #1: Make a List
When tasks and events start adding up, having a schedule can keep you focused and on-task. Take the time to write down exactly what needs to get done and schedule these items into your week when you know you’ll have time to complete them. Stick to your schedule and cross things off as you complete them. Having a visual of what needs to get done each day will help you feel on top of everything and stop you from procrastinating, keeping those stress levels in check.
Tip #2: Know Your Limits
Unfortunately, you aren’t Superman—you can’t be in two places at once. As invitations to social events come in, consult your schedule before committing to attending. You don’t want to say yes to an event if you’ve already agreed to be somewhere else. The holidays are a great time to connect with friends and family, you don’t want to spend this time rushing from one event to another and never fully enjoying the moment. If you’re unable to accept an invitation from a good friend, propose getting together with them one-on-one following the holidays, once things wind down again.
Tip #3: Sweat in the Morning
It may be easier said than done, but it’s vital that you continue working out during this busy time. For many serious athletes, not knowing when you’re going to get your training session in can spike anxiety levels. By scheduling your workouts into your morning, you know they won’t get bumped by other obligations, and you can then enjoy the remainder of your day without trying to squeeze them in.
Additionally, training first thing in the morning has a handful of health benefits, such as boosting your endorphins, improving your mood and energy levels for the day, and keeping your stress and anxiety levels in check. Taking the time to do what you love and focus solely on that, can be a nice break from the hustle and bustle of shopping, cooking, cleaning, and family time. Consider it a non-negotiable item on your to-do list for your own mental health.
Tip #4: Enlist Help
The holidays are packed with added tasks and responsibilities, some seemingly small and simple, while others are time-intensive, which can culminate into a less-than-enjoyable season. Don’t be afraid to ask for help now and then. All too often we have the tendency to think we have to handle everything ourselves. This will only lead to greater stress levels and subsequent frustration when you realize you can’t.
Whether this means asking someone to pick your kids up from school, asking your significant other to prepare dinner, or even hiring someone to come in and clean your house, make sure you get the help you need. Often, if you can take just one or two things off your plate, it’ll give you some breathing room and reduce your overall stress level.
Tip #5: Take 10 Every Day
Finally, focus on taking 10 minutes out of every day to relax and be in the moment. Too many of us get so busy throughout the holiday season that before we know it, the holidays are over and we hardly even enjoyed ourselves.
Sit by the fire with a cup of low-calorie hot cocoa or take in the Christmas lights around your neighborhood. Take the time to do whatever brings you joy and gets you into the holiday spirit every day. It’ll help to rejuvenate your mind and you’ll feel more refreshed, enabling you to fully enjoy the time you spend surrounded by those who are important to you.
Make this holiday season one to remember—where you actually enjoyed yourself. Use these tips to stop the holiday stress before it starts. We wish you happy, healthy holidays!