The holidays are a time of giving and cheer, but they can also add a lot of stress. The to-do list seems endless, the stores are always crowded, and you have tons of family to shop for and get-togethers to attend. If the holidays get to you, then take a moment to read up on how to beat holiday stress.
You’ve been shopping for everyone else. Preparing for guests to come stay at your home. Taking care of the plans. Now make time for you! It’s easy to get worn ragged when you spend around 6 weeks from Thanksgiving to Christmas taking care of others nonstop. Do what makes you feel good, too. Drink your favorite tea. Read a book. Go buy yourself a Christmas gift.
Forget your expectations, and stop telling yourself what you “should” do. Your Christmas dinner doesn’t have to look like the stock photo you saw on Pinterest. You don’t have to buy gifts for 500 people. You don’t have to go to every Christmas party you’re invited to. You don’t have to stick to old traditions. If it doesn’t bring you happiness and cheer, then change the expectations and do what’s best for you and your family. Expectations of how things “should” be are a big factor in what causes holiday stress.
The holidays can be hard for other reasons, too. Maybe you’re missing family or friends who couldn’t come this year, or your grieving their loss. Maybe things aren’t going so smoothly. It’s okay! Don’t push your feelings away, because they can bubble up later. Cry when you need to, or steal a moment away to collect yourself. Allow yourself to feel your emotions.
Whatever it is that brings you calm, take a moment to do it. Take a few deep breaths, meditate, pray, whatever it is. Take a moment to be present and to breathe. Even if you have to go hide in the closet or bathroom for a few moments at family dinner to do so. The power of a peaceful moment’s breath can be all the difference.
This goes back to expectations. If you create a to-do list for the day or week that is unreasonable and impossible to get done, you will run yourself ragged. So try to be realistic. Pick 3 things that must be done that day, and the rest can be done another day or if you have time left. Plan “blank space” in your day as a buffer. If you think an errand will take an hour, plan two. And don’t forget to plan for stress relief activities! And most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Delegate tasks to those who can help you! Ask your husband to run out and get more wrapping paper. Ask your kids to help wrap, or clean up. Tell family to bring a side dish to dinner so it’s one less thing you have to make. Don’t feel like you have to do it all yourself.
There’s a lot going on during the holidays, but don’t let it stress you out so much you can’t be grateful and enjoy the magic of holiday season!