Holidays and stress usually go hand in hand; with the shopping and crowds, it’s inevitable. The plethora of food, interminable chat with extended family or in-laws, and we understand how you could feel not so wonderful and Grinch=esque at the most wonderful time of the year. On one hand it is magical, festive and fun and, on the other, you have added an insurmountable amount of stress and craziness to your plate.
We rounded up a few tips to help you dodge the seasonal blues. From quick-stress survival strategies to mood-brightening ideas, we crafted your cheat sheet to being filled with holiday cheer.
Decide to choose calm. We know dealing with extra traffic and crowds is a pain and can really slow you down, but try to see the positive side of the holidays. Instead of focusing on how much you have to do and the stress, make it a goal to be calm. While this won’t automatically help every situation, it will help shift your focus when you find yourself feeling negative. Try treating calmness as any other goal, like wrapping all of your presents before Christmas Eve. Be sure to tell others it is your goal and they will be more than willing to remind you to cheer up.
Make a plan. Start planning the to-do list ahead of time. Ask who is hosting the holidays, what dish is everyone bringing, how many people will be attending, how is the secret Santa going to play out and so on. Make sure you are aware of all holiday plans before the holidays begin, which will leave you a bit less stressed as the big day approaches.
Hike your mood with sunlight. Sun stimulates the production of feel-good serotonin and helps relieve season affection disorder, which impacts millions of Americans every year. Spend time outdoors or near a window on a sunny day or take a quick weekend trip out West or down South.
Do less and enjoy more. It’s expected to go overboard to please others during the holidays with shopping, cooking, holiday cards, attending events and maintaining the cheerful holiday spirit. Instead, take care of yourself and remember it is alright to say no. Maybe only make a dozen cookies this year instead of five, or visit one side of your family on Christmas Day and the other on Christmas Eve instead of driving all over on one day. Take a minimalistic approach and draw the line between what you absolutely have to do and what you can skip out on; you’ll be much happier and calmer in the end. Don’t burn yourself out and take on excessive projects — slow down and actually enjoy the holidays.
Eat the extra cookie or piece of pie. While you may be dieting to prepare for the upcoming summer months, a few extra cookies never hurt. Don’t stop yourself from enjoying dessert; after all, you worked so hard in baking the sweet treats.
Stay thankful. Keep in mind, it is the holidays. Whether or not you’re traveling, cooking, shopping or hosting, there is much to be thankful for. Take a break from the chaos for a few minutes out of your day and simply remind yourself of what you have. Mentally remind yourself of all you have been blessed with. Next time you think about ways to survive Christmas dinner with your family keep in mind how lucky you are to be spending time and celebrating with them.
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