Congested shopping centers, impossibly long to-do lists, and arguments with family are just a few of the things that can make us feel miserable instead of joyous this time of year. If the holiday season makes you want to hibernate for the winter, emerging only when the odds of nice weather and the ability to find a parking space once again turn favorable, this message is for you.
Solicit Help and Set Limits – Many put pressure on themselves to “do it all” during the holidays, and set impossibly high standards of “perfection” for themselves. Instead, acknowledge your limits and remind yourself that it is perfectly acceptable to ask for help, delegate tasks, and to restrict the number of parties you throw—and attend.
Reduce Gift Stress – Finding the “perfect” gift for everyone year after year can generate a lot of stress. There’s no shame in asking people what they want. Or, take advantage of internet shopping wish lists. While it might lack some of the “surprise factor,” it saves you time and stress—and ensures everyone gets what they really want!
Breathe – Self-care is crucial during the holidays. We tend to take shallow breaths when we’re stressed, which promotes anxiety. Find a quiet place and simply focus on your breathing for a few minutes each day. Breathe deeply from your belly, concentrating on each inhalation and exhalation. Set a timer to go off every so often as a reminder to take breaks from whatever you are doing, and just breathe!
Limit caffeine – While you might feel that caffeine helps “get you through,” drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages is like drinking a cup of stress. Caffeine stimulates the release stress hormones, taxing your body and making you feel even more anxious. If the prospect of foregoing your morning cup induces an anxiety attack on its own, try green tea. It has less caffeine, and contains an amino acid called theanine which helps support relaxation.
Eat Well – Between treks to the airport, stressful shopping expeditions, or just plain lack of time, you might find yourself skipping meals, or relying on sugary treats. However, going too long without eating causes your blood sugar to drop too low. This triggers the release of the stress hormone cortisol, making you feel anxious and irritable. Eating at regular intervals helps keep your blood sugar stable, and the more stable your blood sugar, the more stable your mood!
Gift Yourself- Treat yourself (do something you love; massage, hot bath, etc.)
This Too Shall Pass – Remember that the holidays are only a small part of the year, and will be over soon. By utilizing these tips throughout the year, you’ll be even more prepared for the next holiday season