12 Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season
Holidays with family and friends are an exciting time to reconnect with the ones you love. But the festive season also happens to be one of the most stressful times of the year.1 Time, workload, money, and meeting everyone’s expectations can increase your stress levels and take a toll on your health.
That’s why we put together this holiday stress guide to help you manage the strain of the holiday season.
1. Plan Your Travels Early
Whether you’re flying or taking a road trip to your in-laws this holiday, travel is something you can plan well in advance. Book your flights and hotels early to get a better rate and beat the rush. If you’re taking your car, schedule a tune-up before you go and shop for essentials like road safety items, windscreen washer fluid, and blankets.
2. Get Ahead on Holiday Shopping
Shopping early means you can take your time deciding and actually enjoy the retail experience without the stress of crammed parking lots and huge lineups at the mall. Ordering online early is another good option for stress-free holiday shopping.
3. Let Someone Else Host This Year
You don’t have to take on the whole responsibility of the holidays all by yourself. Taking turns with other family members to host your festive gathering is a great way to share the workload every year. Everyone loves to chip in and contribute by making their favorite dish or dessert, and cleaning dirty dishes is a great opportunity for catching up. You can also share the shopping with your partner to even the load.
4. Don’t Overcommit
Know your limits and try not to overextend yourself. You don’t have to accept every invitation or take on the whole responsibility of organizing everything. Set up a calendar and plan out your Holiday commitments and responsibilities. When it’s all laid out in front of you, it’s easier to judge whether you’ll have enough time, energy, and money for everything.
5. Make Time for Yourself
Don’t forget to buy yourself a little something when you’re out shopping for everyone else. What about some scented candles or soothing bubble bath? Maybe stop for a manicure, pedicure, or 15-minute massage while you’re at the mall. Grabbing a hot beverage like Golden Milk is another good way to pause and relax for a few minutes.
6. Prioritize Healthy Food Choices
During the holiday season, you’re going to encounter one temptation after the other. While you don’t want to banish all the festive goodies from your plate, make healthy food choices a priority. Choose healthy options and treat yourself sparingly. Over-indulging can lead to stomach discomfort, weight gain, and mood swings. So eat healthy and drink responsibly to help manage your stress.
7. Keep Active
Sticking to your regular exercise routine can be a challenge during the holidays, but it’s also one of the best ways to manage stress.2 If you’re going to be away from home, pack some exercise equipment with you like a yoga mat, exercise bands, and running shoes. Check to see if there’s a local gym where you can work out. Many hotels are equipped with an exercise facility, so check before you book. If you don’t have time to get to the gym, find some online exercise videos on YouTube to help keep you motivated.
8. Stick to Your Usual Sleep Schedule
Fatigue, stress, and irritability are reportedly the most negative things about the holidays.1 Getting to bed at your regular time every night will help you manage your stress levels and keep your immune system strong. So make sure you’re getting your 7-8 hours every night.3
9. Don’t Focus on Perfection
Everyone wants the perfect holiday celebration, but you can only do so much. If you get too wrapped up in making everything perfect, you’ll end up overspending and running into credit card debt. Focus on the true meaning of the season and enjoy the time you spend with family and friends.
If you have any spare time or if you find yourself alone this holiday, why not help out at a soup kitchen, wrap gifts for a children’s charity, or bake for a seniors’ home or an elderly neighbor. There are plenty of ways you can make someone else’s holiday a special one too.
11. Disconnect From Technology
Switching off your electronic devices at the end of the work day is the best way to give yourself added peace and some extra time to get those festive tasks done. Too much screen time can negatively impact your physical and mental health and lead to ‘technostress’.4 The light from your screen can also disrupt your sleep.5
12. Practice Gratitude
During the festive season, people tend to worry most about time, money, and commercialism or hype.1 The pressure of giving and receiving the perfect gift is upon us all. So before things get out of control, approach your family and friends and remind them not to go overboard and to be thankful for the chance to get together and celebrate. Practice gratitude as a way to manage stress.
Many Americans practice gratitude during the holidays by reconnecting with their faith. Reportedly, 76% of Americans use prayer and 68% attend religious services to manage their holiday stress.1
We hope these healthful tips will help you keep your stress levels under wraps this holiday season.
- Blog Contributor