As the holiday season began approaching I realized how stressed out I felt. The closer I got to a big holiday the more I had to do and the less I was enjoying myself. I love the holidays and Christmas is my favorite. However, this year it was becoming difficult to truly embrace the festivities. Instead I found myself feeling anxious and worn out. The stress, only enhanced by my never ending “To Do” list, was robbing me of the joy of the holiday season. So as this stress grew I decided to make some changes in how I was going to handle the holidays. Here are a few quick tips that helped me de-stress during this stressful season:
- Recruit Help: I held the mindset that I had to do everything. I decided to ask for help. I began with putting up my Christmas tree. This year my sister and a friend joined me. The stress was replaced with joy as I spent time with people who are special to me and we accomplished something on my “To Do” list together.
- Learn to Say No: The word “no” is a difficult one for many people to say. But, it is an essential answer and will enable you to maintain your sanity during this hectic season. I learned the importance of saying “no” the year I witnessed my mom bake dozens of cookies for me, her friends, and her co-workers. She was overwhelmed and overworked but she could not say “no” to the many requests for her delicious holiday delights. A respectful “no” prevents you from getting spread too thin.
- Make Sure to Exercise: During the holidays, exercise tends to go to the bottom of the list. I can’t blame you, I have done it many times. Just a few minutes of exercise will help you feel better and alleviates stress in your body. Exercise increases your endorphins which elevates your mood. It can be as simple as a short walk around the block to help you get some energy out.
- Minimizing your “To-Do” list: Take a look at your list. Really think about what is important to get done. Ask yourself is this going to really make or break this holiday? Will everything fall apart if its not done? Examine the significance of each item on your list.
- Let Go of Perfection: Life will not be prefect and it doesn’t have to be. I have exhausted myself in the past trying to make things “just right.” It’s too much to expect. And I discovered that sometimes things are more fun when they go wrong. Most of my funny stories come from unplanned mishaps. Allow yourself to loosen up and laugh at the imperfections.
- Being Mindful: Remember to enjoy the moments that really matter. Time spent with loved ones, the moments of hearing children laugh and friends sing. Take it all in, the smell, sounds, scene, and especially the way you feel in that moment. Hold dear and cherish those moments, because at the end of the hectic season that’s what you’ll remember… your time together. Embrace those moments inside your busy schedule. Be in the moment that you are in, stop anticipating your next step. Breathe….
I certainly hope these tips help you navigate through this joyful season with minimal stress. I pray that you and your loved ones have a happy and blessed holiday season.