It’s that time of year- bells are ringing, children singing and all is merry and bright. Everyone except for you that is, because between your work, COVID, family, friends, and year-end events you are completely stressed out. Simply surviving the holidays is no way to experience the most wonderful time of the year, especially this year when we all need to celebrate just a bit more than usual. If you plan to have a productive start to 2022 than managing and controlling your stress levels over the next few weeks is an absolute must.
With this in mind here are 10 great tips for a stress-free holiday season. Please add some of your own tips at the end so we can all benefit from your strategies.
- Plan, plan, plan- Take a look at the next few weeks and really plan out your time accordingly. I read a study that suggests 50% of the stress in our lives we create all by ourselves. Failing to plan is probably top of list of self-induced stress. Take some time this week to look at your calendar and schedule everything. Work, family, anything else you can think of, put in on your schedule because January 1st will be here before you can say HO, HO, HO. Fail to plan and you plan to fail.
- Be present– Wherever you find yourself over the holidays give that person or those people the greatest present of all- your presence. Put away your smart phone, close your computer, shut down your mental to-do list and simply “be” with them. You’ll be amazed at how much more you and others will enjoy the moment and as a result stress less.
- Get your body moving- One of the best ways to reduce your stress level anytime is some physical activity. Get out to the gym, play tennis or golf (warm weather required), walk the dog, hang up the holiday lights, park at the far end of the lot, use the stairs, but over-all do something that requires a bit of effort. Getting your heart rate pumping, blood flowing, and working up a good sweat is not only good at lowering your stress level, but it’s also a great gift you can give to yourself.
- Shop during off hours, or on-line. –If you plan to shop at stores or the mall the hours between 4-8 are probably going to be the most crowded and traffic the most congested. If waiting in line or gridlock traffic stresses you out then choose a different time to shop. Or simply point and click your way to stress free shopping and shipping this year. Remember supply chains aren’t what they used to be so get your orders in sooner than later if you want them there for your special day.
- Watch how much you eat and drink– Look, I love to partake in grandmas home-made butter & sugar explosions just as much as anyone and will probably have my fill of the roast beast at Christmas dinner. Just watch the portions, include some non-starch veggies and avoid going back for seconds. As far as too much drink- well the best advice here is to avoid being the next-day story at your holiday work party- nuff said. Here’s a good strategy, for every drink you consume have a glass of water as well. You will thank yourself the next morning.
- Be unavailable on your days off- The human brain isn’t designed to work 24/7- 365 and sleep if for your body to recover. Your amazing mind needs time to unplug from the matrix and recharge as well so when you take a few days off this season, really take them off. FYI- you probably don’t get paid enough to work every day of the year anyway.
- Plan some time with friends after the holiday- There’s so much pressure to get every single thing in before the holidays, why not schedule some time for important people after the holidays have ended. No need to cram something else into your already overstuffed schedule.
- Have a budget and stick to it. – Remember after the holidays comes January and with it your credit card statement and your normal expenses. Starting off 2022 being productive and feeling like you can take on the world might be difficult if you are strapped with debt and feeling stressed about paying your bills. If you already have a lot of debt- pay for your gifts in cash or create something meaningful for those you love instead of spending more on another gift card.
- Take some time to laugh- The one thing about my family that I can always count on is that we are guaranteed to laugh a lot. I’m talking about that gut busting, tears in your eyes laughing that really wears you out. Studies prove that laughter truly is the best medicine especially when it comes to reducing stress.
- Spend a quiet moment with the person you care about the most. – We all have a special person in our lives, some of us are even fortunate enough to be married to them. Others have a friend, family member, co-worker, even a pet that means the most to them. This season take a quiet moment, light a candle, pour a glass of wine if you are so inclined and share a moment with them. You’ll be so happy you did.
- Bonus tip- Remember you already have more than you need– Tis the season for the perpetual accumulation of “things and stuff” but if you really think about it you don’t need any more than you already have. Take the time to appreciate all that you’ve got and that way whatever gifts you receive will most certainly be exactly what you wanted.
If 2022 is going to be your best year ever, then start right now with no-stress holiday season.
Cheers to you, One Quarter Turn at a Time
Thoughts for the week:
As we struggle with shopping lists and invitations, compounded by December’s bad weather, it’s good to be reminded that there are people in our lives who are worth this aggravation, and people to whom we are worth the same. –Donald Westlake
There must be quite a few things that a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them. –Sylvia Plath
A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety. –Aesop
Do you remember the things you were worrying about a year ago? How did they work out? Didn’t you waste a lot of time and fruitless energy on account of most of them? Didn’t most of them turn out al right after all? –Dale Carnegie
Some of the secret joys of living are not found by rushing from point A to point B, but by inventing some imaginary letters along the way. –Douglas Pagels
For fast-acting relief try slowing down. –Lily Tomlin