The holidays are meant to be filled with laughter, peace, and joy, but with so many things on the to-do list, so much shopping and baking and meal preparation to take care of, so many get-togethers to attend, it can be hard to avoid getting overwhelmed and stressed out.
To ensure that your holiday season is as fulfilling and positive as it can and should be, try following these five guidelines:
- Set a budget for buying gifts. One of the biggest causes of anxiety during the holidays is not feeling like you have the funds to purchase the presents you’d like to. Don’t spend more than your limit or buy items that will take a year to pay off. Happiness comes from moments shared and memories made, not gift-wrapped presents.
- Stick to your healthy habits. With an abundance of baked goods at home and in the office, and an endless list of parties and social gatherings to attend, it can be easy to imbibe in too much alcohol and consume too many foods high in sugar, fat, and calories. Overindulgence simply adds to your guilt and stress, so focus on eating nutritious fare and maintaining your exercise régime.
- Give personal gifts. Homemade presents often mean more to recipients than costly store-bought items, and creating gifts can be a great way to relieve tension and stress. Love and thoughtfulness can easily be conveyed in photo albums, videos, poems, handmade scarves—whatever you enjoy putting together. The options for handmade gifts are endless.
- Set aside differences. Your family and friends might be feeling the stressful effects of the holiday season like you, so focus on the positive aspects of your relationships with them rather than on what may be getting under your skin. Now isn’t the time to dredge up family history or to engage in conversations about touchy subjects.
- Relax. Spend some time alone, meditate, read a novel, go for a walk, stargaze at night, or simply sit and listen to peaceful music. A mere fifteen minutes of solo time can go a long way in lowering your stress levels, putting you in a better mood, and allowing you to fully engage with family and friends in the holiday spirit.
If you find yourself feeling lonely, seek support and companionship by attending a community, religious, or social event. Volunteering your time is another great way to boost your spirits, form new friendships, and help others. There are numerous ways to contribute to nonprofits this holiday season such as serving meals at a homeless shelter or wrapping gifts for Toys for Tots.
Don’t be afraid to seek professional help if you’re unable to manage your stress during the holidays. After all, the holidays shouldn’t be something you dread. With careful planning, a good knowledge of your stress triggers, and the adoption of some strategies like those in this post, you should be able to have a peaceful, joyous season.