No matter the reason—financially strapped, rowdy shopping crowds, family drama, and battling seasonal flues—there are plenty of stresses during the holidays.
However, some effective stress-busting strategies can certainly put some joy back into the most wonderful time of the year. That’s why we’ve beat Santa to a gift of ten jolly Christmas-survival strategies…
1. Accept That You Can’t Do It All
The tendency to go overboard with gifts, food, and family gatherings can really wear us down during the holidays. Does an extra dozen gingerbread cookies really make that much of a difference? Instead, realize that you can’t do everything on your own. Enlist helpers to make the essentials happen and leave some time to relax and actually enjoy the holidays.
2. Give Yourself a Gift…of Relaxation
Muscles a little achy from all of that holiday shopping? Give yourself a gift of a massage to work the knots of tension out of those muscles. A spa certificate makes a great gift for busy relatives who don’t take time for themselves as well.
3. Take Advantage of Short Days
The shorter days and longer nights of winter mean more hours in the dark and greater risk of seasonal affective disorder (or SAD), a condition that can often be eased by taking advantage of those wee hours of sunlight. So get outdoors on sunny days and look into purchasing a phototherapy emitter (a box that sits on your bedside table and emits full-spectrum light).
4. Introduce New Traditions
If the holidays are lonely for you due to the death of a spouse or distance from family, start some new traditions with other isolated friends and work colleagues. After all, spending time with others is all that matters.
5. Energize With Honey
If you’re energy is lagging around the holidays, add some honey to your tea or coffee instead of refined sugar for an instant boost! Natural honey contains antioxidant and antibacterial properties that also strengthen immunity.
6. Take a Sleep Aid
If the stress of the holidays are keeping you up at night—literally—then seek the help of a natural sleep aid. Herbal supplements and plant extracts such as melatonin, skull cap, or 5-HTP work to naturally increase serotonin, reduce anxiety, and help you get a restful sleep. Just talk to your doctor before taking any supplements.
7. Fit in Time for Exercise
After a day of stressful visiting with relatives or holiday shopping, going for a run might be the last thing you’re up for. However, going for a brisk walk will boost your mood, mental focus, and energy.
8. Host Family Gatherings At a Restaurant
Typically mom or grandma get stuck with all of the work if you host the holidays are their home. However, by switching the celebrations to an outside venue, like a restaurant or country club, you will make family meals enjoyable and relaxing for everyone in attendance—including Nana.
9. Turn Off the Tech
Christmas can be depressing if you’re not close to your family, but are exposed to constant Facebook updates about everyone else’s joyous holidays. Give yourself some peace by switching off the gadgets and enjoying being in the present and relaxing as much as you can.
10. Turn Up Your Favorite Tunes
Listening to music—it doesn’t have to be Christmas music either—will actually banish stress during the holidays. The upbeat rhythm will increase oxygen and blood flow, which is healthy for the heart and the soul.