What if the holidays could cause less stress?
Does anyone else feel at the top of the roller coaster ride, just waiting for the mad free fall of stress into the holiday season? November and December are months played in fast forward. No matter which holidays you celebrate (or don’t), these months are usually packed with work and home obligations which can leave you feeling strained, stressed, and anything but healthy.
Use these tips to lower holiday stress and create more space for authentic connection, work, and yourself this year.
Make other plans.
No kidding. Right now. Open your calendar and mark every available evening and weekend with “Plans .” That way, when you receive an invitation, you can quite honestly say, “We have other plans.” Those other plans may be a glass of wine in front of the fire, but those types of plans are important to managing stress over the holidays. One of my favorite mantras is, “Saying no to something is saying emphatically yes to what is important!” Say yes to your plans – even if they are plans to wear comfy clothes and watch a guilty-pleasure television show.
Saying no to something is saying emphatically yes to what is important!Eliz Greene
Think about it. What do you really want in November and December? What healthy habits do you need to protect? Who are the people you wish to honor? What challenges do you want to minimize or avoid? Making three firm priorities will focus your efforts on what is most important. Examples include:
- Making a gift-buying budget and sticking to it.
- Getting enough sleep.
- Getting 20 minutes of exercise every day.
- Making time for a real conversation with someone important to you.
- Completing a year-end project at work
- Avoiding social obligations, you don’t wish to attend.
For example, this year, my three goals are to: focus more on the people around my table than what is on the table, get my shopping done by December 20, and go to sleep by 11 pm at least six days out of seven. (As she explains on her leadership blog, this last goal is inspired by Patty Hendrickson’s goal to go to bed the same day she woke up.)
Be kind to yourself.
It is okay, and completely healthy, to put your sanity, health, and enjoyment first. Suppose you are feeling too tired to go out, don’t. If you are too stressed to host a big meal, find a different way. Perhaps changing up what has always been will allow a new tradition everyone enjoys.
Behave your way into the holiday spirit.
The holidays can be rough. Losses seem more acute, and the stresses of everyday life can mute what we expect to be a joyful time. Adjusting your expectations, performing some holiday activities (even if you don’t feel like it), and giving yourself grace can lead to a more enjoyable season. Find three tips if you are struggling to find the holiday spirit in this article:
Let It Go:
At the risk of setting off a Frozen earworm, think about what traditions or obligations bring you no pleasure or joy. Do you really need to do them anymore? For example, rather than devoting hours to sending out Christmas cards to an extensive list, contact a limited number of people in more personal ways.