Let’s face it, this year’s holiday season is going to bring on some new stressors. They are nothing you can’t handle, but much like most situations, preparation is key! Let’s take a look at a few tips and tricks to manage stress this holiday season.
1. Food Preparation
As they say, preparation is key. Whether you’re cooking full meals ahead of time or just chopping ingredients to make meal prep easier during the week, find ways to set yourself up for success this holiday season. The stress of eating well can start to weigh on you so do the little things to get ahead of that stress. If you’re not into cooking, check to see if there are meal delivery services in your area. There are some options that are affordable and help to alleviate all of the thinking behind meals.
2. Create A Calendar
Before you wake up feeling burnt out, put your holiday obligations on your calendar, even if they’re virtual events this year, to see how your bandwidth is going to be spent the next few weeks. Once you see your schedule on paper, take a moment to ask yourself which things may need to be removed in order to give yourself what you need this holiday season. Don’t be afraid to say no to things that overcrowd your calendar but be sure to do this exercise far enough in advance that you can respectfully decline invitations or reschedule with ample advance notice.
3. Create Socially Distant Friendly Activities
Regardless of where you live and what your climate might be, there are fun outdoor activities to do all year round! Don’t neglect your time with friends, find a way to safely get social interactions in and celebrate what makes the holidays so special to you. If meeting up outside isn’t an option, try something like virtual cooking, baking, or crafts where you can still get to see their faces.
4. Find Better-For-You Healthy Treats To Make With The Family
If you have children and like to cook or bake with them, try tasking the kids with finding healthier alternatives to their favorite foods. Whether you’re adding squash to mac and cheese or using applesauce in your cookies, this could be a really fun way to make treats a little more interesting all while keeping your family engaged in the process!
5. Do Family Things That Give Back
There are so many people doing amazing things in this world, allow you and your family to be one of them. Find a local, or virtual, organization where you can help serve your community. We find that giving back to your community helps to feel connected with the people around you and better understand different perspectives and situations in the world.
6. Carve Out “Me Time”
Amidst cooking, cleaning, wrapping, phone calls, work, working out… the list goes on… don’t forget to carve out a little “me time”. This doesn’t need to take a ton of time, nor does it even need to be something that requires much planning. Think things like a bubble bath, a cup of tea sitting alone in a silent room, meditation, etc. Especially in a year where we’ve been more connected with screens than ever, try to pick something that allows you to disconnect and focus on recharging your batteries. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how good it feels to just focus on you!
If you can give yourself one major gift this year, allow it to be sleep. Enough sleep, and quality sleep leads to better moods, healthier bodies, and promotes healing, among a laundry list of other amazing benefits! It may feel like staying up later to finish “one last email” or “one more movie” seems like a good idea but be cognizant of what that means for your next day.
Not only are they fun to make, they also are delicious. Spending some time researching new recipes and creating an interesting drink for yourself can be a great way to destress.
9. Movement (even if you live in the cold)
Exercising pumps up your endorphins! Endorphins help reduce pain and increase pleasure a.k.a they make you feel good. Going on a short walk outside may lower your stress levels just by getting out of the house and into some fresh air!
You got this. Sometimes you just need to take a step back and a few big breaths to realize this stress is temporary and you can get back into your regular routine before you know it.
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