With the holidays just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about our plans, goals, maybe shopping ideas and planning family get togethers. While this holiday season may look a lot different than any we have experienced before, it doesn’t mean there’s no room for the looming stress to sneak its way into our plans. However, we don’t have to let stress be a guest at our gatherings this year. Think about it … you have permission to un-invite guests!! Bye-bye stress! Of course, this is easier said than done. But today, I just want to examine what causes our stress around this holiday season and how we can permanently un-invite stress from our awesome holiday season ahead … for good!
Say good bye to procrastination
This year aim to get all of your shopping and planning done ahead of time so that when the big days come, you can actually enjoy them. Feeling panicked right before the holidays can usually be traced to waiting until the last minute in checking off your to-do’s. This year, there is the opportunity to change that. I know you can, I have and, let me tell you, the holidays are a heck of a lot more enjoyable! For many, our gatherings will probably be smaller this year with reduced travel and increased caution of being around high-risk family members and friends. With less guests to accommodate, most likely there comes less stress.
Make a plan and stick to it
Decide when you need to have things done and space out any shopping. Give yourself plenty of time ahead to do the necessary preparations. If you feel it would be helpful, your planning can include a budget. This way your finances don’t have to be another added stress point. You’ll know exactly how much you have to spend, which often times allows for an easier time shopping and purchasing holiday goods.
While many of us are “do it ourselves” kind of people, asking for help is a perfectly acceptable and encouraged practice to include in your holiday planning. Putting on an event or gathering can be a team effort, if you allow it to be. If you need to do some shopping have the kids or grandkids get involved. Sending out Christmas cards? Ask members of the family to do a different task such as stuffing the envelopes, addressing them, putting postage on, etc. Just think about the time it would take for you to do these things alone. This allows everyone to help in the holiday festivities and give you more time to focus on other tasks. Ask for help!
Make some time for you
Over the next two months plan at least a few times for you! Maybe take yourself out for a coffee date and get your journal out. Write about anything on your mind. Treat yourself to a spa day (if possible), or take a few long walks outside enjoying the cool, crisp air and take in the scenery around you. This can have tremendous impacts on your mental and spiritual health, ultimately leading to a less stressed you. Make sure you give yourself grace. Not every event, every party, gift or conversation has to be perfect. Know that your plans will not go according to your exact plan. While don’t get me wrong, it’s SO important to plan, don’t allow the actual perfect plan be a stress factor.
Fuel, rest and move your body
In addition to making time for you, this also means keeping your body healthy inside and out. Load your meals with veggies and fruits with lots of plant proteins. Eating consistently will help your energy levels and blood sugar remain stable, in addition to your mood. Getting enough sleep is something I’m sure we could all be better about. Sleep overall helps your brain and body function more effectively throughout the day. And lastly, when it comes to being consistent in your health, make some time for exercise. Figure out something you actually enjoy doing. Maybe you like to play tennis, go for a walk in the neighborhood, sweat it out at the gym or bike on some local trails. The goal here is movement, getting your heartrate up and don’t forget enjoyment! Yes, you can enjoy exercise; it’s a matter of finding what you like!
Keep things fun!
If you have children, the holidays can be some of the best times to create family traditions that your kids will want to pass down, too. Many of you might be home schooling and being around your children all day can potentially be a challenge - I get it. But how will you want the kiddos to remember the time with you and your family? Make a list of a few things you can do this holiday season that you know the kids will enjoy. Ask your spouse for input for some things they did as a child. Would they like to create any of those traditions with your family now?
While this may sound simple or even unappealing, there is proven research showing the importance of giving. Our bodies actually react to selfless actions much like we do exercise, we feel joyful and happy after knowing we were able to make someone else smile. This doesn’t need to be complicated or overthought. How about sending a note to a loved one who can’t join you this holiday or write notes to those in the nursing homes who probably haven’t seen a visitor in months. This can mean the absolute world to them!
Now that October is behind us, the clocks are turned back and November is in full swing, before we know it Thanksgiving will be here, followed by all the fun December festivities that bring Christmas, Hanukkah and New Years in tow! Starting now, make a commitment to yourself that the holidays will be stress-free and fun this year. There’s no need to stress when you can set yourself up now for success. Enjoy and embrace all the wonderful memories the season ahead will bring!