The holiday season is for enjoying time with family, friends and colleagues, not for stressing out. Yet, stress seems to be inevitable when you’re managing your work schedule, juggling shopping, planning travel, and hosting parties. There are ways to manage the stress of the holiday season. Below are ten tips that will help you to shift your thoughts and prioritize yourself, so you can enjoy the holiday season more and worry a little less.
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1. Let go of perfection.
The sooner you realize that perfect does not exist, the better. Your family and friends want to spend time with you and don't care that your house isn't spotless. Worry less about the imperfections and focus on the positives. You’ll see the holiday season in a new light.
2. Ask for help.
You don't have to do everything on your own: delegate. Have a potluck holiday feast; it will drastically reduce the time spent shopping and cooking. Delegate the clean up, too, and don't feel guilty about it. You will find that your guests will be happy to help.
3. Focus on gratitude.
Instead of focusing on what you lack, count your blessings. Take time each day to appreciate the abundance of love, health, family, and friends.
4. Embrace saying, "no."
There's only so much you can do in a day. Pick and choose the events that are important to you, and politely decline the activities that don’t ignite excitement. You don’t even have to give a reason. Don't feel bad; people understand. It’s a busy time of year.
5. Carve out time for yourself.
Take a breath and remember to do something for yourself every day: read, walk, take an evening bath, or schedule a yoga class. Do something to care for yourself so that you can be in a better mental state to give to others.
6. Prioritize sleep.
Nothing is more stressful than having a long to-do list and a lack of energy. Commit to a good night's rest this holiday season. It will improve your energy and mood and will help you fight cravings for sugary treats.
7. Be upfront financially.
Tell family and friends what you can afford early on. If you know this will be a tough financial holiday season, then recommend other options such as: only buying for the kids, donating what you can to a charity, playing a gift swap game, creating homemade gifts. Giving the gift of your time costs nothing but is the most valuable of all.
8. Rethink your drink.
For many, alcohol is a part of being social during the Holidays. However, it can leave you feeling tired and depressed the next day. You're also consuming empty calories and lowering your inhibitions, making it a challenge to ignore the sugary snacks. Space out the drinks and hydrate with water in between each.
9. Get fresh air and exercise daily.
One of the most beneficial things that you can do to improve energy and mood is to move your body and get your heart rate up. When you are active and getting fresh air (and hopefully a little sun), the benefits are compounded exponentially!
10. Watch the signs.
Listen to your body. If you are noticing any of the following signs, then it's time to make changes.
- A change in sleeping habits
- A change in eating habits
- A shift in mood: feeling irritable and unhappy
- A shift in energy: exhaustion and fatigue
- A change in physical health: headaches, stomach-aches, joint pain and low immune system (catching colds frequently)
These symptoms are all warning signs of too much stress and anxiety. It's your body's way of telling you to slow down and take a time out.
Much of the stress we feel over the holidays is because we take on too much. This holiday season, reduce stress by implementing some of these tips. Give yourself the gift of health and a happier you! Your family, friends and colleagues will thank you for it.
How do you reduce stress over the holidays? How do you support your team with helping them to reduce their stress? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
Learn more about the Schuster Boyd McDonald Workplace Wellness Program and how you can support your team with managing stress throughout the year. Contact Kerry Lamarche, Certified Health Coach and Workplace Wellness Advisor.
For related blog posts about Workplace Wellness, click here.