In case you haven't noticed in the stores or through the television ads yet, the holidays are coming. I wanted to share a few tips that can help you with responding to the holidays in a healthy manner.
Here are my top 10 tips to navigate the holiday season with the least amount of stress:
1. Allow Self-Care to be a Priority: Take time for yourself amidst the festivities. Whether it's reading a book, taking a long bath, and/or maintaining your prayer time, self-care is crucial during busy times. Self-care also means doing the things that are most important to you. Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas? Give this question some thought and make these holidays what you want them to be. Returning to the basics is a great self-care activity.
2. Set Realistic Expectations: Don't try to make everything perfect. Understand that things may not go exactly as planned, and that's okay. Embrace the imperfections and focus on enjoying the moment. Social media can drag us down in this category. Remember that people only post their happiest and prettiest moments. You don’t know what happened just before/after the picture or what is on the other side of the camera. Comparing yourself to others can lead to unrealistic expectations of yourself.
3. Budget Wisely: Financial stress can be a major “holiday buzzkill”. Set a budget for gifts and festivities, and stick to it. Remember, thoughtful and meaningful gifts don't always have to come with a hefty price tag. More is not always better. When January comes around and you get that credit card bill, you don’t want to regret your choices.
4. Plan Ahead: Plan your schedule and commitments in advance. Be realistic about what you can accomplish in a day. This can help you avoid last-minute stress and ensure that you have time for both obligations and relaxation.
5. Learn to Say No: It's okay to decline invitations or skip certain events if you're feeling overwhelmed. Be realistic about what you can handle.
6. Delegate Tasks: You don't have to do everything on your own. Encourage family members and friends to help in preparing meals, decorating, or organizing activities for the holidays.
7. Create New Traditions: If your current holiday traditions are causing stress, consider creating new ones. This may include doing less or including something of goodness that isn't already included.
8. Stay Active: Physical activity is a great stress reliever. Even a short walk or quick workout can do wonders for your mood and energy levels.
9. Connect with Others: Loneliness may amplify during the holidays. Reach out to friends or family, attend church activities, attend social events, or volunteer to connect with others. We are not meant to be alone, God created us for one another.
10. Reflect on Gratitude: Take a moment to reflect on what you see around you. For which blessings are you most grateful? This is how we see the world around us, so practicing gratitude can shift your focus from stressors to the things you appreciate.
Remember, the holidays are about joy and connection. So many people find the holiday stress overtakes the joy and leaves them feeling exhausted rather than peaceful. Finding a balance that works for you is key to managing the hustle and bustle of the holidays.
What strategies have worked best for you? I’d love to hear from you! Send me an email.