It’s that time of the year where the shopping malls are overcrowded, Christmas songs are heavily repeated on the radio, family members are spending time together over holiday preparing meals, office parties and gifts are being given to many. Although, the holidays can be a joyous moment, it can also be stressful for many people. Maybe this season reminds you of unpleasant memories or added stressors with the expectations of your daunting “to-do” list. This year, you can prepare yourself with these helpful tips to prevent holiday stress!
Here are five strategies that can help you reduce your stress:
- Set realistic goals and budget: The holidays do not have to be perfect and you don’t have to exceed your budget when buying gifts for loved ones. Think about your spending limit and stick to it. You may feel pressured to buy the best and most expensive gifts this year, but challenge yourself to get creative. A helpful tip: give a gift that is practical and meaningful to the person.
- Spend quality time with loved ones and be present: During this season, learn to be present in the moment and practice awareness when you are with your loved ones. Create meaningful traditions and spend time laughing with one another. This is the perfect opportunity to reflect and be grateful for quality down time. Be mindful of the simple pleasures and enjoy it to the fullest. Don’t obsess over the perfect pictures you need to capture on your DSLR camera and capture the moments in your mind instead.
- Eat nourishing meals: During the holidays, you are constantly surrounded by food and delicious desserts. If you are going to be invited to festivities, set some limits on the amount of food you’ll eat. Don’t deprive yourself, however eat mindfully and treat yourself "non-nourishing" foods in moderation. This is a wonderful self-care practice.
- Learn to say NO: Maybe you’ve hosted every dinner party this year and volunteered to make grandma’s famous Chocolate Peer Hazelnut Tart from scratch. As you get closer to the festivities, you become overwhelmed with the endless demands and requests. Learn to say no and start making wise decisions about what activities and responsibilities to which you choose to commit. Take some time to breathe and relax alone during this busy season.
- Seek professional support: If you feel overwhelmed and need additional support, seek professional counseling. For many individuals, the holidays can trigger unwanted memories and events. Seeing a therapist during this time can help you to develop some stress-reduction strategies.
If the holidays are creating stress or even a sense of dread for you, follow these suggestions. You deserve to enjoy this wonderful season.