There’s so much to love about the holidays. Fluffy snowflakes floating all around you, colorful lights on buildings nearby, music in the air.
And then there are a few things you might not love so much, like the stress that comes with the season.
But if you take a moment to step back, you can definitely enjoy all the wonders of the holiday season without as much stress. You just have to be mindful of your own needs and listen to your body and your mind when they tell you to just stop.
Here are a few ways you can relieve stress during the holidays … most of which you might not mind so much.
Get enough sleep
Sleep deprivation can affect you in more ways than you know, including contributing to physical pain, poor concentration, general irritability, and possibly even that notorious holiday weight gain. During the holiday season when we all have so much to do, it may be tempting to skimp on sleep, but it’s important to get those 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night to help you tackle the day.
It will most certainly make a difference in how you feel and how those around you feel.
Here are some ways to ensure that you do get a good night’s sleep:
- Maintain the same sleep schedule.
- Darken the bedroom before going to sleep.
- Ensure you have ideal blankets and pillows based on your preference, as well as wear clothing that is optimal for your sleep comfort.
- Use aromatherapy devices such as diffusers to add a calming, soothing atmosphere in the room.
- Shut off your devices at least one hour before going to sleep, and set it to sleep mode to avoid being awakened by the sound of text messages, emails, and social media notifications. Don’t allow yourself to check your phone endlessly, shop for gifts, or play those games as you’re trying to fall asleep.
Laugh loudly and love freely
Allow yourself to be happy.
The operative word there is “allow.” Really think about that. … So many people these days stop themselves from smiling or laughing, but why?
Laugh loudly, express affection toward your loved ones, and show kindness to strangers.
One way to put this stress relief tip in action is to spend an evening watching your favorite holiday comedy with your loved ones. Shut down your devices, cuddle up with your family, and make an effort to laugh at the funny scenes in the movie.
Seriously. Concentrate on laughing. Don’t just watch. Allow yourself to laugh out loud when something is funny. Laughter is a stress reliever and can be contagious, so don’t hold back.
Do what you can right now … and leave it at that
An important way to relieve stress is to live in the moment. This moment is all you have, after all, so don’t worry about what you need to do tomorrow, the day after that, or in 2022. All you can do is what you’re doing right now.
Having that mindset can help you complete one task after another rather than feeling overwhelmed by thinking about them all at the same time — or, worse, trying to do them all at the same time. You know very well that when that happens, nothing gets done, which can make your stress level even higher.
Meditate, exercise, or practice mindfulness techniques
Take at least 15 minutes per day to meditate, exercise, or practice mindfulness techniques. Practice yoga, silently meditate, listen to calming music, or sit quietly and listen to the sounds around you. A simple walk around the block will do as well. If you prefer something more active, do your daily aerobics, lift weights, or play sports if you wish.
When done properly and safely, virtually any exercise or wellness technique will work wonders for your body, mind, and spirit and help to melt away the stress of the day.
Maintain a healthy diet
You may be tempted to choose unhealthy foods as you’re trying to finish all your errands or socialize with friends, but try to eat healthy when you can. When you eat better, you feel better. That can reduce physical stress on your body, and that in turn will inevitably improve your mood and mental state.
You don’t have to do everything
You know yourself. You can probably think of many ways to cut down on the things you don’t really need to do.
- Kindly decline that party invitation from a friend of a friend on Facebook who you never met.
- If you need to bring food to a party, go ahead and buy it from the store rather than making it from scratch. Some party guests actually prefer store-bought to homemade. Alternatively, buy most of the ingredients and make the main elements of the dish from scratch, just to make sure your dish still feels authentic.
- Are you having a party in your own home? Consider making it more casual, so you can minimize the time you spend cooking, prepping your home, or washing dishes afterward.
- Buy gifts online rather than driving from store to store, and take advantage of grocery delivery apps. (That might be safer during this COVID era anyway.)
Remember to ask for help if you feel overwhelmed. Consider asking for that help from the children in your life. They might love to wrap those gifts, decorate those cookies, or even help you prepare for a party.
However you celebrate the season, we hope it’s as joyful, peaceful, safe, and stress-free as can be.