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10 Ways to Keep Your Stress Levels Low During the Holidays

10 Ways to Keep Your Stress Levels Low During the Holidays

For some people, the holidays aren't the most wonderful time of the year. In fact, they can be downright stressful. If the holiday season has got you feeling more jittery than joyful this year, it might be time to step back, take a deep breath, and refocus. Here are 10 things you can do to keep your stress levels low so that you can enjoy the holiday season to the fullest.

1. Temper your expectations.

Do you feel like the magic has gone out of the holidays lately? If so, you're not alone. Many people find that their holiday experiences in adulthood don't measure up to their childhood memories. That can lead to feeling disappointed in the holidays and even dreading the season.

It's important to realize…

1. Temper your expectations.

Do you feel like the magic has gone out of the holidays lately? If so, you're not alone. Many people find that their holiday experiences in adulthood don't measure up to their childhood memories. That can lead to feeling disappointed in the holidays and even dreading the season.

It's important to realize that you may never be able to recapture how perfect your favorite holiday seemed to you as a child. However, that doesn't mean that you can't find joy and meaning in the season now. If you give the holidays permission to not be perfect, you might find that there's a lot more to enjoy in them than you remembered.  

2. Limit your obligations.

If all your weekends are booked solid with parties and family visits from November through New Year's, it's no wonder you're feeling stressed out. From this point forward, make a habit of saying "no." Decide how many social obligations you can realistically and happily handle, and prioritize your invitations based on how important they are to you. Be honest: is attending that third party really going to make your holiday season that much better?

3. Make a list and check it twice.

The best way to avoid stressful holiday shopping is to start early. But if it's too late in the year for that, your second-best bet is to get organized. Make a list of everything you need to get -- party supplies, baking ingredients, gifts, and everything else. Break it down into smaller sub-lists if it gets too long. Then make a schedule for when you're going to go shopping for which items. Checking things off your list will make you feel in control, which is a great way to cut down on stress. You'll also be less likely to forget anything important.

4. Give yourself permission to feel your emotions.

Holidays can be an emotionally intense time for many different reasons. Maybe you're feeling nostalgic for the past, maybe you're grieving the loss of a loved one, or maybe you're just trying to get through Christmas dinner this year with as little family drama as possible. But whatever emotions you're feeling, it's important to let yourself experience them, however inconvenient they might seem. When you start feeling negative, take a deep breath and try to figure out where the negativity is coming from. Acknowledge the emotion and try to find a healthy way to deal with it, such as going for a brisk walk or writing in a journal.

5. Know what your stress triggers are.

Everyone has different triggers for stress, and knowing yours can save you a lot of grief this holiday season. Whether it's shopping for stocking stuffers or playing referee for your bickering siblings, think about which aspects of the season you dread most. Then do your best to either minimize your contact with those stressors or avoid them entirely.

6. Get away from it all temporarily.

Sometimes taking a break can help you reset your mind. If the stress is getting to be too much for you this season, see if you can plan a day trip to a different city or book a weekend in a relaxing destination. You don't have to plan a bunch of activities -- that might actually add to your stress. Just take the time to relax and get a change of scenery. The holidays might seem far more manageable when you return.

7. Create new traditions that resonate with you.

Have you been trying to uphold old family traditions that no longer mean much to you -- or, worse, ones that bring back bad memories? If so, it might be time to reinvent the holidays. Come up with some new things to do that have meaning for you and your family. That could mean sledding on Christmas Eve, making cocoa in the kitchen with Grandma, or going to your favorite restaurant with your family. Building your own traditions is a great way to remind yourself that the holidays are whatever you make them.

8. Focus on gratitude.

When stress is wearing you thin, it's all too easy to focus on everything that's going wrong in your life. But how often do you stop and think about everything that's going right? Creating a daily gratitude practice can be a powerful way to center yourself and maintain a positive attitude throughout the holiday season. One good way to build a gratitude habit is to write a list of three, five, or 10 things you're grateful for every evening.

9. Take a step back from consumerism.

You don't have to shop until you drop when the holidays roll around. In fact, it's better if you don't. A consumeristic mindset can sap all the happiness out of the holidays, leaving you anxious about money and focused on things that won't bring long-term happiness. Try limiting the number of gifts you exchange with family and friends this year, or focus on giving handmade gifts instead of store-bought ones. You'll still get to enjoy giving and receiving seasonal goodies, but you'll shift the focus of the holidays to experiences rather than things.

10. Remember to care for your physical health.

The holidays are a busy time -- there's no doubt about that. And when you're running yourself ragged, your health is often the last thing on your to-do list. If you haven't exercised or cooked yourself a healthy meal in too long, take a break from your other obligations and focus on basic self-care. Also, don't neglect sleep. Even a small amount of sleep deprivation can have a major negative effect on your mood.

The Takeaway

Holiday stress is very common, and you may not be able to get rid of it completely. But there's plenty you can do to keep your stress levels to a minimum while you're decking the halls or lighting the menorah. Use these tips to take control of your life and your emotions this holiday season, and you'll be able to enjoy this year's festivities without neglecting your own needs or having a meltdown.

About The Author

Liddiard Home Furnishings
Liddiard Home Furnishings

Email: info@liddiardhf.com
Phone: 435-882-0964