We all need some extra time for rejuvenation during the holiday season. No matter how peaceful your family is, the added traffic, end-of-the-year shopping, and barrage of deadlines means that we could all use some extra time to chill.
However, finding that happy place—between vegging out at the spa and baking sixteen dozen cookies, a turkey, and four pumpkin pies—can be a bit difficult.
This article gives you ten quick and easy ways to reduce stress this holiday season. The simple holiday stress relievers here are guaranteed to help you feel relief faster than downing a glass of wine.
1. Use the Internet for ALL Shopping
This is such an easy way to save yourself time, energy, and money. Grab your list and your computer and bang out your gift list right from your kitchen table. Or your favorite coffee shop ;)
2. Hire a Cleaning Service
No ‘ifs’ no ‘buts’ just do it! You'll feel so relieved knowing you're able to let someone else handle the cleaning. Even if you just pay them for one hour the week before Christmas, it can make your life a heck of a lot easier. P.S. Don’t make the mistake of “tidying up” before they come over—that defeats the purpose.
3. Guard Your Sleep
You may already have a watchdog, but chances are he probably wakes you up at least once in the middle of the night. It may not be a bad idea to kick out the dog, cover all light sources, and put in earplugs. It’s tempting to skip on sleep to get it all done and be at all the parties, but don’t give in to that temptation. Non-rested people will feel stress at a greater level than those who are well rested. Also, skip the nightcap, as alcohol can throw your hormone levels out of whack, resulting in less rest and less REM sleep.
4. Stick to a Routine
If you do just one thing on this list, do this! Try to stick to your everyday routine as much as possible, but improve upon it wherever lacking. If you normally feel tired after lunch, schedule your easiest tasks for that period. Many of us have our routines on autopilot and breaking from them will cause additional stress and energy on our minds and bodies, so keep it simple. Get the hardest thing done first, and move on from there!
5. Rethink Family Traditions that Cause Drama, Stress, and Added Work
Why do you have dinner at 1pm when everyone in the family has small children wanting to take a nap at that time? Go ahead and change that time to 4pm, if it makes sense. Instead of making a huge meal, why not take the family out to eat at a nice restaurant that has a buffet?
6. Clear Your Appointment Calendar as Much as Possible
Starting at least a week before you expect the craziness to start, reduce your appointments and to-do lists as much as possible. If this means rescheduling, so be it. This gives you the needed time for the extra work that always comes up around the holidays.
7. Go Tech-Free at Designated Times
Our phones and devices can be such a useful part of our lives but they also keep us plugged in and connected to everyone, everywhere, virtually 24/7. Carve out some time where the cell phone turns off, the MacBook gets unplugged, and the rest of your day can be spent lying down with a good book or a glass of wine.
8. Reward Your Senses While You Work
Use music, candles, and food to recharge yourself every day. Turn up the tunes while you work, light candles to help calm your home, and take time to eat well. Lighting incense or using essential oils can also help to relieve stress.
9. Plan a Few Vacation Days for After the Festivities
Even if it’s a few days off of work with the kids to stay in and watch movies, plan a few days of pure relaxation and fun to come down off the high that the holidays bring. If you and your spouse are feeling the need to go somewhere, drop the kids off with grandma and hit the road for a mini-getaway.
10. Give Up on Perfection
Go ahead and buy rolls instead of making them or purchase the cookies for your kid's class. Or, throw the gift in a gift bag instead of wrapping it. Those few changes will save you stress and energy and ultimately give you a much better experience.
The biggest thing to remember about the holidays is that no matter what you do or don’t do, it’s not the end of the world. You can always skip making the hardest dessert that stresses you out, or you can miss a PTA meeting. Everything that's important during the holidays is already inside your home, and it has nothing to do with the food or presents.
Remember, presence not “presents” is the reason for the season. Show up and be you with the people you care about, and you'll have the recipe for an unforgettable holiday season.