Tips To Stress Less This Holiday Season
Each year, we say that we aren’t going to get caught up in the holiday frenzy, only to find ourselves fully immersed in the chaos and the lists and the pressure. This merry season can be chock full of stress. Can we together be trailblazers and try a new approach to a slower, more present season? Let’s commit to slowing down and focusing on what matters most.
Before we get started, can you take a moment. Put your feet on the ground. Close your eyes (after you read what to do). Take some deep beautiful breaths. Imagine what a calm peaceful holiday looks like to you. What are you doing? How are you feeling? What are you not doing? Make this as clear as possible. Feel all the good feels for what a peaceful, present, holiday season looks like for you. Ok, open your eyes. I want to share my 11 tips to help you stress less this holiday season.
If you follow these, I give you my personal promise that you are going to have your most peaceful and present holiday season. Yes, I know you have heard some of these tips before. But that’s because they work...if we actually do them! The real trick is to get ahead of the season!
Do what you can now before the holiday pressure is on. If you are lucky enough to be reading this before the holidays, then take advantage of it. Come up with your gift list now. Order your holiday cards. Set a goal to complete your shopping on cyber Monday (or small business Saturday). If you feel a need to bake for the holidays, bake early and freeze it. This year, do not push it off. Do what you can early!
Outsource. If you can afford it, outsource tasks that you don’t like or don’t have the time for. Websites like Shutterfly and Snapfish will address your cards. Or hire a company like Fancy Hands (www.fancyhands.com) to do tasks like arranging travel, ordering food or finding deal on a special gift. But you don’t have to pay to outsource. Have a team family meeting and see how your spouse or kids can help get things done. Outsourcing can also mean that you buy the pre-made salad or pumpkin pie, so you don’t have to do it!
Create a holiday budget. Spending too much money is one of the most stressful parts of the season. Sit down and be clear on what you will spend. Most people don’t need more stuff. Write a letter, do something thoughtful, spend time with someone. You do not need to go broke to show someone you love them. Focus more on experience and connection than on things.
Say no more than you say yes. Tis the season to be asked to parties, to volunteer, to do a secret Santa exchange. If it’s not a hell yeah, it’s a no. I want you to say no to anything that will make you feel too full in your time. I want you to say no to anything that doesn’t bring you real joy. Your setting boundaries will help others do the same.
Protect a minimum amount of self care. Go into the season with a commitment of your personal minimum effective dose of taking care of you. This is not the time to go on a diet, to take on a new physical commitment. I just want you to commit to a little time each day that is for what makes you feel good; whether that is a form of exercise, nourishing your body or having solitude for yourself. Make sure you are getting enough rest and getting in regular physical activity.
Ground yourself in gratitude. Start each day and put pen to paper and write 10 things you are grateful for. Yes 10. It’s when we realize all of the blessings in our life, no matter how small, that we can truly be at peace. Gratitude allows you to detach from stress and connect to the present moment.
Embrace good enough. Please, please let go of any illusion of a Pinterest worthy table, perfectly behaved kids or families who don’t argue. It will not be perfect, because there is no perfect. Let it go if you decide not to do holiday cards or put up the Christmas lights. Whatever you do, will be good enough. Can we all “keep it real” together?
Create a What Not To Do List. I’m serious. Write it out. It’s like putting a line in the sand and making a commitment to yourself.
Unplug. It’s tempting to be attached to your phone, sharing it all on Facebook or Instagram. But do your best to put your phone in a box and ask your family too as well. Be with each other. In real time. In real life. Just for you, not for anyone else to see.
Treat yourself. Perhaps ask for this as a gift or get a gift for yourself. Get in a spa appointment or go get some acupuncture or go get a pedicure. Treat yourself to something that will make you feel great and will calm you.
Have fun. That’s right. Make sure you have fun. Whatever that looks like for you. Whether it’s snuggling and watching a Christmas movie or taking a walk to look at the holiday lights. Do things that will truly bring you some joy.