1. Set a budget – Over the holiday season we are tempted to spend beyond our means. Make a gift list. Buy or make gifts for those only on the list. Set a price limit for each gift. Get creative within your budget.
2. Get plenty of rest – Holiday parties can run late so on those other nights plan on getting to bed at a reasonable hour. Lay out clothes and make lunch the night before. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night can increase energy during the day and keep you healthier through the holidays.
3. Learn to say No- It is o.k. to say no. Over the holiday season our plates feel even more full than normal. When others ask us to do things that are not critical but will definitely overload the schedule, then politely decline. No explanation necessary!
4. Strive for imperfection – Yes, it says “imperfection.” Cutting back on the details may reduce stress. Put out fewer decorations, send e-mail cards or order cards online that are already signed by you, buy cookies instead of baking them or bake cookies with a friend. Less perfection and a more relaxed you can make for happier holidays.
5. Make time for exercise – Make it a priority to get your body moving. Take a walk during lunch hour; begin your day with a yoga session; park further from the store. Getting the blood flowing can help reduce stress.
6. Limit sugary treats- Don’t worry, I’m not recommending that you cut out all the sweets. Over the holidays it seems that sugary treats are everywhere. Allow yourself one treat a day or decide not to take seconds of dessert. Keeping good blood sugar levels can help prevent stress.
7. Don’t take it personally with family – You may not be the only one prone to stress during the holidays. Unfortunately sometimes family members can take it out on the ones closest to them. Practice saying to yourself, “it’s not about me.” Also remember forgiveness.
8. Make a plan- Take out your calendar and schedule in: shopping trips, days to ship packages & mail cards, exercise, massages, and parties. Follow the plan for reduced anxiety.
9. Enjoy the simple things – Sometimes the simplest things bring the most joy. Sitting by the fire, drinking hot cocoa and reading holiday stories with loved ones is a good example of taking pleasure in the simple things.
10. Get support – If you find that you are overwhelmed, not enjoying yourself despite the festivities around you, or you notice you are feeling lonely – reach out for support. You can call a trusted friend or family member. If you find you need more support call a professional – minister, rabbi, doctor or counselor or coach. These people are trained to help.
Tracey Ashcraft, MA, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Coach. She has helped hundreds of people reduce stress. As a result these people are learning to take better care of themselves and are enjoying more fulfilling relationships and happier lives. To set up your free phone consultation call 303-668-5995 or drop us a line here.