Bring More Joy to Your World: How To Deal With Stress During The Holidays
I remember the holidays as a child. It was magic, love, and eager anticipation of gift time. Frosty the Snowman and hot chocolate. Watching the sky to see Santa’s sleigh, listening for bells outside the window, and waking up on Christmas morning to see all the magic that happened overnight.
Then I became an adult.
Now when I think of the holidays I immediately feel my shoulders tighten, my jaw clench, and I begin counting dollars to make sure I have enough saved up to get everyone’s gifts. I have nightmares of the store lines as people fight over merchandise. Then I see the face of the Elf on The Shelf, knowing I will have to remember at least twice a day to move him or I will have to come up with twenty damn good reasons that the elf has, in fact, not lost his magic.
The truth is that I until I made some changes, I had lost mine. I had forgotten how to deal with stress over the holidays.
This has brought me to this article, which is as much of a written confession as it is a blog. These are my top go to ‘how to deal with stress” secrets, which, well, considering I am pregnant this year and cannot drink the spiced eggnog to help me relax, I was desperate for!
So, pour yourself a hot toddy’s and lets learn how how to deal with stress…
Learn to say no.
If you are anything like me, you’ve been invited to a holiday party almost every night from now until the end of the year. Although they are all wonderful, we cannot say yes to all of them without losing our minds and sense of self. It’s essential to prioritize. Say yes to the parties that truly excite your spirit and bring more joy to your holiday season. Other than that, send in a heart-felt regret, put up your feet and know you’re on the path to learning how to deal with stress this time of year!
Discard the notion of the perfect holiday card.
I can just about have a panic attack thinking of all of the years I slaved over holiday cards.For my own sanity, I decided that the picture perfect Christmas card is a thing of Christmas Past. Heck, there is only so much one person can conquer this time of year (while maintaining her sanity!) and, well, handwritten cards just don’t make the cut. Instead, streamline the process online with a website like treat.com, which, for a fee, can handle all the busy work for you.
Buy less, but buy better!
I love to shop, but holiday shopping is its own super-stressful beast. That was, until I discovered that the gifts most well-received by from friends and family were also the gifts that were the easiest to acquire: local, artisan made goods. I love supporting local businesses. Not only does it help your local economy thrive, but you can get in and get out without the department store hassle. Prefer to shop online? Check out Sending Out Love! We’re stocking up on the The Giving Plate ($15), a handcrafted plate with a special meaning about giving on it that you can hand to someone with their special baked goods and the giving can be paid forward for years to come. (Enter code BEAUTYBEAN20 for 20% off just for Beauty Bean readers!).
I remember my grandmother used to forget what she bought for everyone by the time Christmas arrived, so when I would unwrap presents it would say the name of the gift on the outside of the box: Heather, Black polka dot purse.Whether you prefer post-its or an app (like The Christmas List), pick a system and stick with it.
Remember the real reason for the season.
The holiday season isn’t the time to lose sight of your own self-care. When clients say to me that they don’t have time to take for themselves, I ask them if they then have time to be stressed out and resentful.
Find time for meditation.
You do not have to have an hour long practice and start levitating to have a worthy mediation session. Even if it’s just a 5 minute break to take some deep breaths is a great tool for learning how to deal with stress. Unsure where to start? Check out this meditation guide!
Lose the attitude and find some gratitude.
With all of the running around we can lose sight of what the season is about: love, gratitude, and joy. I challenge you each day to make a list of items you are grateful for that day. It can be as simple as the smell of a cup of coffee in the morning or the love of a pet. Change your attitude to one of gratitude and your days will change as well.
Turn off the electronics.
In my home, all electronics go off at 9:00 pm and my children can then read, sit and be mindful, or go to bed. There is nothing to take you out of the present moment like Facebook, so here is my advice— get off of it. Make that gratitude list, plan your next day and enjoy a great book and a cup of hot tea.
Although the acquisition of gifts can be quite stressful as the stores sell out of items and the lines get longer, it’s far more stressful not having the money to purchase them at all. I decided a few years ago to open a holiday savings account and have been putting money aside each month. It is such a relief to know now that when December rolls around the money is already sitting and ready to use for gifts.
Give up perfection.
Your friends truly don’t care how clean your house is (if they judge you for that, find new friends!) and the stockings don’t need to be hung in perfect alignment. The wrapping paper can be crooked. The message here is this: do the best you can and let go of the rest.
The holidays can be stressful if we allow them to be, but they can also be a wonderful time of spiritual connection and family communion. It can be a time to prepare for a new year and reflect on your accomplishments over the last year. So, this year join me in doing something differently. Make a commitment to forgo the store lines and the stress. Instead, order something that has meaning, sit down with a cup of tea, and take care of yourself in mind and body. It is then you will find that you have more holiday spirit.
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