The holidays are a stressful time full of hustling, bustling and lots of busy, busy business. It’s easy to become overwhelmed by the madness of the holidays, but before you drown in stress, try these 12 great de-stress techniques, compliments of WebMD.
1. Focus On What Really Matters
It’s no secret that the holidays have become a commercially overproduced clustermuck, so it’s important to remember what really matters. Take a few minutes to just sit in a quiet space and think about what matters to you this holiday season. Try to think up 3 holiday traditions you love. Maybe that’s lighting the menorah on Chanukah or making Christmas cookies for Santa with the kids. Whatever is, keep in mind the aspects of the holidays that make you happy; the simple things that don’t cost money or effort, but result in a lifetime of happy memories. Be thankful. Be positive.
2. Curl Up With a Good Book
There won’t be many of you reading this that are too surprised that reading has made the list. Curling up with a good book and a hot cup of cocoa or coffee is one of winter’s finest luxuries, and it’s guaranteed to lower your holiday stress levels. If you’re really busy, just take 10 minutes to stop and read something short and sweet. Perhaps some holiday poetry? Or maybe a short story or that 1 chapter you’ve been meaning to read in that latest best seller? Whatever is, give your brain time to unwind by pulling up a chair and snuggling down with a good book.
3. Open Those Curtains
Studies have shown that observing nature and absorbing natural light do a lot towards lowering stress levels. Taking just 5 minutes to drink in some of Mother Earth’s natural beauty can lower your heart rate and cultivate a sense of calm and peace that is equivalent to a medicated response. It might sound silly, but if you’re struggling with stress, throw open those curtains and take a few quite minutes to drink in the beauty and sunlight of the world around you.
4. Mistletoe IS Magical
Just because it’s holiday time doesn’t mean you have to be any less “squirrely”. Physical affection has been proven to boost oxytocin and dopamine levels, which help lower and control feelings of stress. Take a moment or two to grab a quick kiss with your honey under the mistletoe, or curl up on the couch of a few quiet moments of cuddling. Whatever your style, some physical affection can go a long way in reducing your holiday stress.
5. There’s No Such Thing As Perfect
If you really want to defeat the “stress monster” this holiday time, then one of the most power concessions you will have to accept is one of the most simple: there’s no such thing as perfect. Things go wrong. Wrapping paper gets ripped, food gets burned, the kids break an ornament or two. It doesn’t matter what you do, you can’t make everything perfect, so there’s no use trying. Instead, do what makes you happy. Follow your own joy. Enjoy spending time with your family and friends and don’t be afraid to mix things up or do things your way. Mistakes happen. No use crying over them.
6. Create a Holiday Playlist
Music can majorly lift the spirits and it’s no different around Christmas time. Take some time out of your day to sit down and make a holiday playlist. Pack it with all the songs that make you want to move or fill your tummy (and your memories) with those warm emotional fuzzies. The holidays should be a joyous time, so select music that makes you smile or lifts your heart. Share it with your friends and family and play it whenever you’re feeling a little blue to share the holiday joy. No idea? Start with this one!
7. Tackle 1 Thing at a Time
Even if you’ve always been the superwoman(man) of the family, able to leap projects in a single bound and always under the weight of a million projects, don’t take on too much during the holidays. Instead, tackle 1 project at a time and don’t allow yourself to move on until the project is done. The more you attempt to juggle to more stressful things are going to become. So do yourself a favor and slow down this holiday.
8. Get Organized
Okay, okay, okay. So this one doesn’t seem like it belongs on the list. Just stay with me.
According to Beverly Coggins, author of the 1-2-3…Get Organized series, out of control stress can be easily managed by organizing something in your home. The rationale is pretty simple. When things feel out of control, immersing your brain in a situation it can control allows it to separate from the stress of the previous situation and reset.
9. Follow Your Joy
The holidays are packed with schedule disruptions. From family dropping in to friends crashing on your couch, chaos is the name of the game around Christmastime. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should give up the littler personal joys that once filled your schedule.
Make sure you’re still taking time to do the little things that keep you level during “the normal times”. If that is a quick conversation each morning with a friend, make sure you’re still getting to your call, even if you have to reduce the time or call amounts. If that joy was a nice long soak in the bubble bath each week, make sure your bubble bath still happens – even if you have to switch days or soak times. Whatever it is, don’t let the stress overwhelm your joy!
10. Create Some Calm
Think of one word that describes your perfect holiday season. Write that word down on an index card and place it somewhere highly visual, like the corner of a bathroom mirror. Try using words like peace, joy or happiness. When things get stressful, retire to the (quiet) place where your card resides and take a glance. This will help you reset your brain and focus on what you really want and what really matters.
11. Press It Out
Use the “Sea of Tranquility” accupressure move when you feel that headache coming on and feel yourself getting overwhelmed. This movement helps send a “calm down” message to your brain and helps deepen your breathing – which naturally relieves stress. In just a few moments, you’ll be able to refocus and get back to your holiday plans.
12. Stay Active
Slow and sluggish seem to be words that are synonymous with the Christmas season. As the possibility of time off looms in the future, motivation and “up to” can really dwindle, leaving every move we make more and more sloth-like. Make sure you don’t get sucked under the wave of holiday laziness by staying active. If you’re enjoying a White Christmas, take some time out with the kids to build a snowman. Your brain will be blissfully entertained and your stress will drain away!