The holidays are wonderful, aren’t they? All the cheer and joy and family and gratitude and the wonder of children as they experience it all is a pleasure each year. But…
Well, all the crowds and shopping and bills and pressure can be more than a little overwhelming too. So, here are a few ways in which you can fight back against holiday stress and regain your jolliness!
1. Push away perfection. Don’t try to live up to the Pottery Barn catalog! Set realistic goals and, even more importantly, limits on what you can accomplish by keeping in mind that you should have time to enjoy yourself with your family too. Don’t miss out on the warmth of your loved ones because you are so busy trying to get the whipped crème topping on the hot chocolate just right, or the perfect amount of glitter and bows on the gifts you are wrapping. You’ll create better memories in the moments you are relaxing and tuned in to what makes your heart sing.
2. Prioritize you. Schedule in your own self care between the shopping trips and recipe researching. Take a bath! Break out the vanilla bean bath salts, dim the lights, and soak yourself silly. Close your eyes, focus on your breathing, set aside time to meditate, use creative visualization, take a walk, stargaze or cloud watch – whatever it is that relaxes you, make sure you are doing it.
3. Listen to yourself. It’s normal to feel the sadness of loss more sharply at the holidays. Don’t force yourself to be happy because of the season. Instead, show yourself some compassion and give yourself room to experience all the emotions you need to, even if it means crying beside the Christmas tree. Acknowledge your feelings of grief – they are just as valid and no less important than your joy.
4. Make a budget – then stick to it. Money can’t create true happiness, no matter how many gifts you try to throw at it. Know what you can afford to spend on gifts and food and then don’t go over. Remember, there are alternatives to pricey gadgets or luxury items. Try giving an experience – admission to a museum exhibit, for example. Homemade gifts can be among the most meaningful and cherished, as well. Gift someone your time and caring rather than adding to your own debt and stress.
5. Eat chocolate. Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying a handful of Hershey kisses can cure what ails ya! However, cortisol, our anxiety producing hormone, is counteracted by antioxidants. And one of the richest sources of antioxidants (in the form of flavonoids) is dark chocolate (not milk, sorry)! Look for 70% cacao or higher for maximum benefits.