4 Tips for Less Holiday Stress

Holidays, the simple way!

The holiday season is fully upon us and chances are your days are looking a lot busier than usual. The holidays are a great time to celebrate, spend time with loved ones, and shop til you drop. And don’t forget the holiday parties! And oh yeah, you’re hosting Christmas Eve this year!

Before you know it, it’s January 1st and we’re bloated, sitting on our couches, surrounded by the ghosts of Christmas (torn up wrapping paper, 3-day old cookies, and somehow there are sparkles on everything) and now you have to go back to work tomorrow...Just me?

Don’t get me wrong, the holiday season truly is wonderful, but everyone is always burnt out immediately after. Isn’t it odd that we can look forward to something for so long and feel so lackluster when it’s all over? Considering this time is all about giving and spreading love, shouldn’t we be full of more love afterwards?

Whether we like to admit it or not, there’s a lot of stress in the holidays. For some, even seeing family is a stressful enough task (yes Janice, you finally have to face your sister after your Facebook blow out on Thanksgiving). Or, have you tried wrangling all 6 of your nieces/nephews after they’ve been on an early-morning sugar cookie bender? It can get tough. We haven’t even addressed last minute Christmas gift lines at the mall, holiday traffic, or the fact that you’re about 87% likely to burn Christmas dinner again this year. But as much stress as we may experience, we can’t let that take away the excitement and joy we feel doing these things. That’s why it’s important to go into the holiday season managing your (and everyone else’s) expectations.

Here are my top 4 tips on how to manage the holiday stress & come out the other side rejuvenated (and actually ready to tackle those New Year resolutions):

1) Bring a sense of joy & giving to everything you do this season.

First and foremost, remember that the holidays are about joy and giving (and I’m not just talking about presents). A great way to feel more purpose during this season is to give more of yourself to your loved ones, your community, and whoever else may need it. Really enjoy putting up your decorations, take a moment to appreciate the quality time you get with those you love, and don’t let the stress of hosting or coordinating make you unable to be present at your own event. It’s also a great time to give back to the community. I didn’t have much spare time this year, so I participated in an online adopt-a-family program and purchased items off an Amazon wishlist for a family in need. You won’t be surprised to hear that it was easily my most joyful moment of the season. Help where you can, whether it's near or far & you'll be on your way to feeling all warm & fuzzy on the inside, too

2) Don’t forget to give back to yourself.

While we’re doing all this giving, give yourself some love why don’t you! We can only properly give ourselves over and be present if we are taken care of first. This might mean taking a bath instead of putting up Christmas decorations or being selective with how you spend your time this year. Do whatever it is you have to do to maintain your peace of mind. Continue to check in with yourself throughout the season.

3) Spread social/family events out as much as possible. There are plenty of people in the world who get energy from being around others. You know the people who are the life of the party and buzz around effortlessly socializing with everyone in the room? I’m so not one of those people. I call myself and extroverted introvert: AKA someone who can “turn on” in social situations but needs plenty of recharge time in calmer atmospheres. If you find yourself like me and having a full calendar stresses you out, make sure you give yourself recharge time. Spread events out as much as you can and avoid running from one party to another whenever possible. This will keep you from spreading yourself too thin and also allow you to be fully focused on wherever you are instead of being in a “what's next” mindset.

4) Say no. Saying no gets a bad rap. I still remember that Jim Carrey movie, “Yes Man,” where he experiences a spiritual awakening and goes through all sorts of transformative experiences after he decides to live life in a YES state of mind. It stuck with me for a while, the message that opportunity lies behind every door. But there’s no way we can say yes to everything – extended family events, work parties, catching up with old friends, weddings, alone time with your spouse – and still expect mindful, quality experiences out of all of them. The truth is that we are only humans and while we may feel like we can manage it all, we often can’t. You’re still reading this article because you know you’re burnt out after holidays and you’re looking for a fix, so it’s time we’re honest with ourselves – and our families. Saying no is always an option, although it does get hard around the holidays. If you can’t dedicate 100% of yourself to being there, then you should use that time for something else. Trust me when I say that your friends and family would much rather have you at your best and you’ll feel better about giving them your full attention, too. I won’t give any spoilers, but even the Yes Man himself eventually learns the importance of saying no in the end. Use some of your extra time to rewatch :)

It’s so easy to get overwhelmed with the sudden hustle & bustle, but ultimately, we’re in charge. It’s up to us to ask for a break and it’s up to us to allow ourselves to take one. So this season, make sure you have some time for you or your immediate family and take care of their needs before heading off to a hectic Christmas day with extended family. Put on that cheesy Hallmark movie you love, relax, and enjoy a refreshed mindset come New Years!

Do you have any other tips on beating holiday stress? If so, leave them below!