Tips to De-Stress the Holidays so You Can Really Enjoy Them

The Holidays can be stressful, that period of Halloween through New Year Day. Our ‘To-Do’ list can sometimes seem overwhelming. When I start feeling the panic of it all, I have learned to take several deep breathes and then begin to revisit my priorities. It always amazes me at how off track I can get due to pressures of society and well intended family and friends. 
Here are some things I have done to simplify so I can really enjoy this special time of the year. 
The Basics:
  • Keep expectations for the season manageable. 
  • Organize your time and make a list and prioritize the activities that really matter. 
  • Be realistic about what you can and cannot do. 
  • And remember to schedule some down time to relax and take care of yourself.
O.K., I know what you're thinking. That last bullet point might sound counterproductive during what's supposed to be a season of loving your fellow man. But believe me it is REALLY important! 
Regularly giving yourself time to regroup, without distractions, gives you both energy and calm. That means you will be more fun to be around AND you will be able to focus better, therefore accomplishing much more in less time. Sooo...  
  •  Get your sleep, exercise, water & eat healthy. Having a small snack between meals can help to keep your stamina and mood up, so aim to eat something 4-5 times a day
  • Before answering an invitation or building a gingerbread house, Check in with your body first, every time pause to notice how you feel. Are you excited or tense, relaxed or head-achy, calm or vaguely nauseated. If you're not good to go, don't do it. And don't worry about what others will think.
  • Say "yes" to the bigger gatherings. Attending events where you'll see lots of faces in a short period really helps me feel less obligated to attend lots of smaller events over successive evenings. Big parties can be exhausting, but then you're done.  
  • If you are an introvert like I am, take a mid-party break. Step outside. Look up at the stars. Or Find a quiet corner where you can listen to music alone for a few minutes or do some deep breathing, even if it's just in the bathroom. 
  • Use essential oils in a diffuser, on the soles of your feet, inside wrists & back of neck to help you stay balanced, calm, focused or to uplift your mood as you work through your days (& evenings) of activities.  

De-stress Traditions
At the root of a lot of holiday stress is the feeling of the need to do certain things, in a certain way, in the name of tradition. Maybe you want to please aging parents or carry on in their memory. Or maybe your focus is on creating the same traditions, so your kids will know them, too. Either way, the effort often creates more stress (for you) than bliss.
  • Don't assume, ask. Find out which parts of the holiday truly mean the most to your loved ones. You might be surprised by what others really like. Caroling? A special feast? Baking together? Driving around to look at the lights and decorations? Keep one or two of those traditions -- period -- and do them up in a festive way.
  • Shift your focus. Decide to make happy memories, rather than continue traditions for tradition's sake. The more relaxed an event, the more likely everyone will want to keep it up, making future holidays easier, too.

Shifting the focus away from so-called 'obligations' to what really matters to those you love and care about will make for a happier days and weeks filled with precious memories.

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Blessings for Health, Joy & Laughter,

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