• Sarah M.

How to Lose that Holiday Stress

'Tis the season to be merry -- and stressed out. But it needn't be.

For a time of year that’s supposed to be one of the happiest, the holidays have the potential to cause a lot of stress and anxiety; family conflicts, packed schedules, and gift-giving are just the tip of the stress iceberg.


Are the holidays the season of excitement or a time for anxiety and frustration? Here are some tips to get you past the stress and into the festive spirit.


ALLOW YOURSELF TO LINGER

Do you find yourself rushing through the day, from place or task to another? If so, why not allow yourself to linger…

When you arrive at a destination, sit quietly in the car for a few minutes before getting out. Sit at your desk and take a few deep breaths before turning on your computer. Stand up and stretch between items on your to-do list.

I encourage you to create little pockets of space throughout your day and you’ll be surprised by the flow-on effect in other areas of your life.


LISTEN TO OTHER PEOPLE’S STORIES

When we listen to other people tell their stories, we are reminded that the world is not black and white. We become slower to judge and quicker to show compassion (both towards others and ourselves). Talk to friends and strangers alike and really listen to what they have to say.

Connecting with others allows me to focus on what matters most and leave the stress nonsense behind me.


STOP WEARING THINGS THAT MAKE YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE

Whether physically or emotionally uncomfortable, nothing in your closet should make you feel bad about yourself.

Try keeping a journal and notice if there’s any correlation between what you wear and how you feel. It might help you think differently about your wardrobe.

I've noticed that when I am wearing an outfit I feel good in, my whole day vibrates on a higher level.


MAINTAIN REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

If you find yourself feeling extremely overwhelmed by emotions, pressures, or obligations this year, try to shift your perspective by deciding what’s most important and what you want the holidays to mean to you. The holidays are just another time of year, certainly something to mark, but not the end-all, be-all.

I fall into this rabbit hole every once in a while and this is a good reminder for myself too.


ASK FOR HELP

I know it’s hard to do. I’m not good at it either but I keep practicing and you should too. Let’s change the narrative and stop glorifying self-reliance.

Humans have been working together in communities since the dawn of time. There’s no shame in asking or needing help.


GET OUTSIDE

Many holiday activities are indoors due to the frosty weather but it’s important to make time to go outside, even when it’s chilly. Take a deep breath of fresh air, look up at the big blue (or black, depending where you are) sky, and for a few minutes let yourself feel relaxed.


UNPLUG YOURSELF

In case you need to hear this, not everything requires a response. Emails and messages are a request for your time and attention and it’s not unkind to protect your space when you need to. It’s OK to be unavailable.


GO STORE-BOUGHT INSTEAD OF HOMEMADE

Do you always bring the pie for the holiday meal, always homemade? If this year has you feeling overwhelmed or overworked, consider giving yourself the gift of time and buy one instead.


LET A LOVED ONE KNOW YOU CARE

Taking time for our loved ones is also a great way to reconnect with our priorities, and the more clarity we have about what matters, the less we worry about the things that don’t.


Don't let the holidays become something you dread. And let me be the one who reminds you that though this holiday season, you may have many things to take care of, make sure you know the most important one is yourself.

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