The holidays are meant to be a joyful time, but with an often chaotic pace, too long to do lists and more activities than you could possibly fit in, they can bring anxiety. Here are some tips to banish stress from your holidays this year.
- Make a list of what you would like to get done, prioritize it and then schedule it on your calendar. An absolutely essential part of this task is to give yourself realistic time estimates about how long it takes to finish particular jobs and build extra time into your schedule for anything unexpected that might come up. There’s nothing more self-defeating than scheduling too many undertakings in too little time. For big jobs, break them into steps and schedule those. If there is more on your list than days on the calendar, decide what you can do without this year, or enlist the help of others. If you want to boost the amount of time you have, limit or even skip social media for the season.
- Put yourself—and your health—at the top of your list. After all the effort you put in, you want to feel good to enjoy the results of your hard work. Schedule time on the calendar each day for self-care, including exercising (preferably outside in nature because it is inherently restorative), hydrating, and resting. Mark time in your calendar to do something just for you, and don’t let anything interfere with that time.
- Develop a centering technique that you can use when you feel the slightest hint of overwhelm creeping in. This might be relaxing with a cup of tea for a few minutes, taking some time for deep breathing, lighting a scented candle or putting a holiday blend in the infuser, writing down five things for which you’re grateful, or dancing to a favorite song.
- Make yourself a judgment-free zone. This means no self-judgment and no judging others. Affirm that you are creating the perfect holidays for yourself and your family, however much or little gets done. Accept family and friends as they are, fostering a deeper connection.
- Remember what the holidays are really about, and what they’re not. Holidays are a time for connection, joy, love and peace. They’re not about crazy, exhaustive schedules, finding all the items on a child’s wish list, having an Instagram-worthy decorated mantel, throwing an impressive party, or keeping up with the neighbors’ brilliant lights displays. If an event has been stressful during past holiday seasons, reevaluate. Choose a different one. Engage in those activities that make you feel happy, peaceful, and connected, keeping your focus on the true meaning of the season.
With some planning, self-care and awareness of what truly matters, your holidays can be the peaceful time you and your loved ones deserve.