Raise your hand if you love the holidays! Raise your hand if you know how to beat holiday stress! Hmmm, I thought so! Me too. I love the holidays. Traditions, family, friends, food, hustle and bustle, the IDEA of snow (southern California has completely taken the Midwest out of me!). Oddly enough those are the very elements that can turn my holiday cheer into holiday stress. I often find myself pulled in all different directions. My regular routines and schedules are disrupted, most often because my perfectionist, “Let’s do it all!” self can sometimes say, “Give into the chaos!” which isn’t the healthiest thing a girl can do!
We can beat holiday stress and bring on a whole new feeling of holiday cheer that is genuine. If you choose to take on these three ideas, you will transform your holiday too!
Much of my holiday stress comes from being on autopilot, spending time doing things I’d rather not (instead of the things I really want to do!), or spending money where I’d rather not (instead of spending on the things that matter most to me). And so on.
But here’s the thing! We CAN be in charge!
Step 1: Be Intentional.
Stress of any kind is often fueled by that feeling of not being in control. Holiday stress can be fueled by a feeling of not being in control of our time, money, food, activities, or even our own minds all at once in a very short period of time.
One way to combat this out of control feeling that fuels holiday stress is to create a roadmap for yourself in each of these areas, with the mindset that this is YOUR holiday, and is meant to be enjoyed!
For instance, set your intention with money by setting a budget on what you will spend. Commit that you will not use your credit card, and avoid the stress of overspending.
Regarding time, set the intention to go to festivities and hang out with people that YOU enjoy. Remember, “No, thank you.” is a complete sentence. You don’t need to accept every invitation! I get it, there are some functions you can’t get out of, for example, a work party. (Now, I just happen to love the people I work with, but that’s not always the case.) No problem. Go, but limit your time there. Decide how long you’ll stay, and if someone says, “What? You can’t leave yet!” Well, yes you can!! Thank them for a great time and be on your way, just as you intended!
Set your intention with food. Decide: Are you going to just mindlessly eat because that’s what happens over the Holidays, OR are you going to set the intention to limit your goodie intake and NOT gain weight this year? Check out our Top 5 Holiday Party Strategies to support your BEST INTENTIONS.
Step 2: Simplify
Interesting, right? Here we are in the holidays, extra activities, extra decorations, extra calories, and we’re contemplating the idea of simplifying things. Let me guess, your holiday stress went right through the roof? Stick with me here!
Leading a “simple life” has a different meaning and a different value for every person. For me, it means eliminating all but the essential, trading chaos for peace, and spending my time doing what’s important to me & my family.
This sounds great in a blog post, however, getting to simplicity isn’t always a simple process. It’s a journey, not a destination, and it can often be a journey of two steps forward, and one step back. Here’s the thing: We don’t have that kind of time during the holidays, agreed? But we CAN do a few things that will TOTALLY simplify our lives AND will serve as a launchpad to a new life habit in the new year.
Great Ways to Simplify:
- FIRST: Say YES LESS. It’s ok to say “No. Thank you.” You officially have permission to say no, and stay home. Or go shopping alone, or decline the extra helping of dinner or dessert. Say yes to the things that matter the most, and leave the rest. No room for obligation in the simplified life.
- NEXT: Eliminate Digital Distractions. Truly. Put down the devices, turn off the TV and use the time to do something else that’s more high value to you at the moment. Play a game with your family, or read a few pages in a book or magazine, maybe pack your lunch for the next day. Or, just BE.
- LAST: Plan ahead! Make your to-do list the night before. Seriously, pack your lunch for the next day! Either of these 10-minute activities will buy you loads of time when you don’t have to go out for lunch or wait in the food court for your lunch during a shopping break. Or realize that you could have gone to the dry cleaner and the market on one trip had you taken the time to write all your errands down and put them in order the night before.
The holidays and end of the year can be fun and FULL. You don’t have to do all of the things all of the time. Pick the things that will mean the most, and leave the rest. Simple.
Step 3: Make a Contribution.
Sometimes holiday stress can be driven by our intense focus on ourselves and our own people, and sometimes picking our heads up and helping others might actually remove stress from our own lives.
What am I even saying?
The most valuable thing you can give someone (during any time of year) is your time and attention. I know, you are probably like “Are you serious? I barely have enough time to put myself together each morning, let alone worry about kids, and food and homework and holiday shopping! There is no way.”
There is a way. You do not have to donate your life to a cause. But think about taking a couple hours on a weekend afternoon and serving food at a local food bank or homeless shelter. It’s a life lesson for your children, time spent together and a chance to FEEL gratitude and love for the lives you have.
Or maybe you can go through closets and drawers and the playroom and make room for the new by giving away the old. Or you could take some of those cookies you baked and hand-deliver them to a local nursing home.
There are many ways to be of love and service in your community, and we can all make time if it’s a priority. Put it at the top of your list this holiday season. You will not regret it, you will feel great, and wonder why you felt stressed at all!
More Ideas Here
If you liked these ideas, we have so many more for you inside of our NewMind Holiday Handbook. It’s FREE and ready for you to challenge the status quo of the holidays. Full of great journaling exercises and daily challenges, feel free to download a copy and send the link to a friend too!