How To Stay Stress-Free During The Holidays
Happy BLACK FRIDAY, fam! I honestly can’t believe another Thanksgiving has come and gone. Where is 2017 going???? QUIT FLYING BY, DANGIT. We are currently hanging out in New Orleans with my husband’s family for the week, and will actually be celebrating our Thanksgiving tonight. Today’s post is How To Stay Stress-Free During The Holidays. I am an extroverted-introvert. I love being the center of attention, I love being around people I love, but at some point during the day/night I have to go off on my own for a bit and escape to relax. This time of year causes a ton of stress for me. Here are 10 ways to fight holiday stress so you can actually ENJOY your holidays. Let’s dive into it.
How To Stay Stress-Free During The Holidays
Yes – you heard that right – you actually can avoid stress and anxiety (even with dozens of people milling around you home). Here’s how:
Actually go outside at some point during the day.
This can be especially hard during Thanksgiving when most people are cooking from sun up to sun down. But take 10 minutes, go outside, let the sun hit your face and take a deep breath. This stimulates your serotonin levels in your body and can actually boost your mood. Win-win. It’s tempting to stand over the stove for 12 hours, I know, but give yourself 10 minute breaks every couple hours so you don’t die of exhaustion and oven fumes.
Whiff some citrus.
I was skeptical of this one, too. But I tried it out this holiday season and low and behold, it actually kind of works. Keep some lemon or orange essential oil on your person to brush under your nose when you feel your anxiety levels rising. Some psychologists have found that certain citrus fragrances boost feelings of well-being and alleviate stress by upping levels of norepinephrine, a hormone that affects mood. Works for me!
Raise your hand if you officially SUCK at this. People try to fit TOO MANY THINGS in their days during the holiday season. Learn how to say NO to things that will unnecessarily fill your day up. Make a list in order of most important to least important of the things you need to get done during the week and then make a point not to commit to anything until you have completed those tasks. Not only will it keep you from double booking or over committing yourself, it will also help you keep your stress levels from bubbling up.
Clean the house (or hire a service to do it for you).
Believe it or not, but most people function WAY better when the house is tidy and clean. It eliminates the fear that people will judge you for a messy house, allows you to cook without tripping over everything, and you are able to find things you need without panicking. I personally find that my anxiety sky rockets when my house isn’t clean. I just don’t function well in a mess. Spend the days before the holidays tidying up, or (if you can) hire a service to help you deep clean everything. Instead of tripping over boxes, you’ll have one less thing to worry about!
Get off your cell phone.
I am a total hypocrite with this one. I love my cell phone, my job is on it!! But when the whole point of the holiday season is to be with the ones you love, maybe put the screens away for a while. Enjoy the company. More than likely, the holidays is the one time of year your family gets together and it would be a poor decision to waste that valuable family time all staring at your cell phones.
It’s the holidays. You know that means AMAZING food for a pretty solid 2 months. But just because it IS available doesn’t mean you should stuff yourself until your sick. Be aware of your portions and adjust it so you can eat a little bit of everything (plus dessert. you should always have dessert). Instead of THREE pieces of pie, have one. Enjoy your dinner but maybe stick with one plate instead of two. Prepare for your heartier meals the week before by loading up on heart healthy food and smaller portions so you can feel better about indulging. You don’t have to miss out on your favorite foods — just be aware of how much of it you are eating!!!
Diffuse the tension.
Just because you’re family — doesn’t mean you always like each other. If you know politics are one of those topics you can’t discuss without the whole family arguing, don’t do it. Just avoid it. And stop asking people if they have a boyfriend or are trying to get pregnant — sensitive subject should be approached with care and only if the person you are talking to brings it up with care. They may be tired of being asked every year why they aren’t pregnant yet and it could cause more hurt than it’s worth. Just stick to topics everyone can chat about – unless your family loves debating. In that case, go for it. 🙂
Plan an actual vacation.
Take four or five days if possible for the holidays. I’ve done the whole 2-3 day thing with half of that time being spent traveling. It makes me grumpy and I’m not enjoyable to be around the one full day we are actually around family. This year we took a full week to enjoy Thanksgiving and we are so glad we did. We got to actually enjoy being with the family without feeling like we had to fit everything in in 24 hours. My stress level decreased dramatically. My ideal trip is 4-5 days. I start to miss my cats and my bed if it’s any longer than that. LOL.
Plan an activity for each day.
Nothing is worse than not having anything to do and watching tv the whole time you are supposed to be on vacation. Plan a trip to the park with kids, a night out with friends or game night with the family. Something to break up each day. If you sit on the couch five days in a row, there is much smaller chance you’ll actually look back on these memories with fondness instead of annoyance.
Focus on what is most important.
At the end of the day, even if everything didn’t turn out ABSOLUTELY PERFECT, try to be happy with “good enough”. If everyone had a good time, good food was eaten and memories were made, it’s ok if you didn’t get the third pie on the table or dinner was a few minutes late. You were with friends and family and that’s what matters most.
PIN THIS FOR LATER:
I love the holidays. I get to spend time with my family and my husband’s family. We are surrounded by so many amazing people. We have the BEST friends and family and are constantly reminded how blessed we are to know them.
Take a moment – kiss your favorite humans and remember why we celebrate this time of year. Let me know in the comments below what your favorite way to destress is!