Taking The Stress Out Of The Holidays

When most of us think of the holidays, we picture family get-togethers, gifts, big meals, and time off. But all of those things take preparation, which can bring stress and anxiety and even substance abuse when things get to be too much. It’s important to take a step back, prioritize, and forget about making things “perfect” for the holidays. Instead, focus on the big picture and don’t get caught up so much in the details.
Traveling, entertaining, and spending time with family can all take a toll on our emotions, but there are ways to prevent things from getting overwhelming. Learning ways to cope–such as meditation and deep breathing exercises–will help, but it’s also good to plan well and ask for help now and then.
Here are a few of the best ways you can get the most out of the holidays.
Learn ways to relax
You can’t always take a hot shower to loosen the knots in your shoulders, especially when you’re traveling or staying in a crowded house with family, so it’s important to learn other ways to relax. Step outside, away from everyone, for a few minutes of uninterrupted breathing time. Bring headphones or earplugs to drown out the noise on a plane. Learn meditation, which can be done just about anywhere once you’ve got the hang of it.
Don’t chuck your regular routines
You might be busy during this time of year, but don’t let that get in the way of your normal routines, especially if you have children. Bedtimes, exercise time, and dinner time should stay the same as much as possible so tempers won’t flare. You might find that this calms you, too, because changes in schedules can make anyone grumpy.
Reach out
You might find you have more demands of your time than usual, between baking, shopping, and arranging get-togethers, so take a moment to ask for help. Reach out to a family member, your spouse or partner, or your kids and delegate responsibilities so that everything doesn’t fall squarely on your shoulders. If you feel overwhelmed or believe you are exhibiting signs of depression, don’t be afraid to talk to someone about it.
Learn to say no
The holidays are a time to give as well as receive, but don’t neglect yourself because you have so many things on your plate. Learn when it’s okay to say no and do so gently but firmly when you feel too much is being asked of you.
Practice self care
You won’t enjoy yourself if you’re tired and don’t feel good, so make sure you’re getting enough rest, eat well-balanced meals, and take in daily exercise. Getting out in the sunlight will boost your mood, and having a goal for the day will help you stay focused and on point.
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