Tips For A Stress-Free Holiday Season

The holidays are meant to be a time of happiness and cheer, but many experience anxiety in anticipation of the season. From the pressure to balance commitments, juggling finances, and shopping to travel plans, entertaining guests, and meal planning– the holidays can be overwhelming. 

Before you burn out, read through these helpful tips that encourage you to reclaim your time, communicate boundaries, and manage expectations so you too can enjoy the holiday season.

Plan Ahead

Over-commitment can be a cause for high stress around the holidays. To avoid overextending yourself, it can help to prioritize your time in advance. 

Before you agree to make holiday plans with friends, co-workers, or family members, think about what’s on your plate. If you know that your energy will be depleted after back-to-back holiday parties, consider limiting your holiday parties to one per week. If you’re hosting an event, consider a potluck so that meal preparation is shared. If finances are tight, consider gifting from your kitchen: cookies, cakes, eggnog, mulled wine, and homemade Irish cream are thoughtful and delicious holiday treats that can be made in bulk for friends and family. If you know you will need to visit multiple households, suggest timing that you think will work well for you and your hosts. 

Don’t Be Afraid To Say “No”

It’s okay to prioritize your needs first and establish your boundaries, especially in stressful times. If there’s an upcoming holiday event or activity that adds stress to your schedule, you can say “no.” 

It’s easier to say no once you’ve planned by establishing your availability and budget for the season. If something falls outside of either area, you should feel free to politely decline.

Everyone has their limits. Saying “no” more often can be a valuable way to protect your peace and focus on what brings you joy. 

Maintain Healthy Habits

If you are a creature of habit, you know that disruption in your routine can put you emotionally and physically off-track.  During busy and stressful times, it can be challenging to focus on your self-care. 

By putting your needs on a to-do list, you are signaling to yourself that you are a priority alongside everything else that needs to get done.

Needs such as sticking to a regular sleep schedule, staying hydrated, taking your supplements, and choosing at least one healthy meal each day can help you navigate the holidays feeling good and guilt-free.

Be Realistic About Expectations

Setting high expectations for yourself and others can be another cause for stress. If you are expecting the holidays to go perfectly, you may be setting yourself up for disappointment. 

Instead of focusing on the events and details that you want to go right, try focusing on the feelings you want to create for yourself and others. Commit to embracing the inevitable imperfections along the way. 

Accepting that the holiday may not go exactly how you envisioned can take the pressure off your shoulders and allow you to be fully present in the moment. Let yourself sit back and take in all the wonder that the holidays can bring.

Final Thoughts

In the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it can be easy to lose sight of what matters most. The holidays aren’t about spending the most money, planning the best party, baking the most cookies, or gifting the best present. They are about being with the people you care about the most and setting yourself up to enjoy that time with them and them with you.

To manage your feelings of overwhelm this year, take the time to plan ahead, say no more often, maintain a healthy routine, and set realistic expectations. 

Wishing you a very happy holidays!

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