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Reduce Stress and Make the Most Out of Your Holidays

January 04, 2018

The holidays are almost here! What are your plans? I have grown to love the holidays.

Over the years, I’ve pared down how I handle them so I can have the most fun with the least stress.

While some stress and feelings of being overwhelmed are inevitable this time of year, you can definitely rise above common holiday stress and learn to really enjoy this special time.

Here are my favorite tips to beat holiday stress:

Work on your own expectations.

Make sure your expectations for the holidays are realistic. Don’t sacrifice your happiness or well-being trying to attain holiday perfection.

You don’t have to prepare every recipe, have the perfect presents, or the most fabulous décor. It’s ok to let go of some of the details. Your holidays will be so much better if you’re less stressed.

Delegate some of the cooking.

Don’t go overboard with cooking unless you love to. If your family doesn’t eat much or you’re only planning a small gathering, just make a few of your favorite recipes, or focus on the staples that you can’t go without. Friends and relatives may want to contribute recipes to a special event, too.

Steer clear of family drama.

Avoid gossip, nitpicking, or engaging in situations that bring everyone down. Focus on the healthy relationships that work.

If a family member or friend struggles with the holidays or creates problems, try to connect with that person in advance and ask how you can help.

For people who just dislike holidays altogether, it’s ok to reconnect with them after the holidays.

Make time for fun.

Do you enjoy holiday movies, decorating, or group activities? Set aside time to do the things you love – like ice skating, family sports, making special decorations, or attending a holiday party or service.

At the end of the day, how you spend your time with your loved ones is what matters the most. Have fun with it!

It’s ok to partake in a few drinks over the holidays. Just don’t overdo it, and avoid situations where you will need to drive.

Decide how to handle gifts.

We all want to offer our loved ones amazing gifts, but try to avoid impulse buys or high ticket items that put you in the red before you even really start shopping. Make a list and prioritize.

Consider drawing names instead of shopping for your entire family and friends. Offer homemade gifts or baked goods instead. Skipping gifts is perfectly fine, too. Most people understand.

Prepare ahead of time for work.

Are there deadlines you need to do in advance? Working a little more in the weeks before the holidays can help free up more time for holiday fun. Talk to your manager if you need a little time off or flexibility with deadlines.

If you’re your own boss, avoid waiting until the last minute to make a plan. If you choose to shut down your office for a few days, make sure everyone knows and plans accordingly.

If your family lives far away, decide on a plan.

Maybe you want to make the trip, or perhaps a quiet holiday with a close friend is the best option. Some people enjoy taking a short holiday vacation if they can’t get together with family.

Reach out if you’re feeling lonely or need support. Many people have open door policies over the holidays, so you can visit when it’s convenient for you.

De-stress with herbs and aromatherapy.

Using an aromatherapy diffuser can reset your mood if you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Some of my favorite essential oils for the holidays are peppermint, vanilla, cinnamon, and frankincense. Just a few drops is all that you need.

Try Serenity Now spray with herbs like Holy Basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum) and Kava Kava (Piper methysticum) to calm strong emotions fast if you’re in a stressful situation.

Take a deep breath.

The holidays can be a precious time with your family and loved ones. Don’t let stress get in the way of making great memories. You can always schedule visits to loved ones around the holidays to avoid crowds or high traffic days if they cause too much stress.

Another nice way to enjoy the holidays is by helping the less fortunate. Volunteering to cook or serve a meal for the homeless might become one of your favorite holiday traditions.