The holidays are a stressful time of year for many people. It's definitely not supposed to be, but all the plans, the food, the gifts, the traveling, and the days full of family time can really wear you down. It's a lot! Especially when we have 2 major holidays within about a month of each other. Who thought that was a good idea?!
It's important to stay on top of your stress during this time of year. Focusing on reducing it and maybe even having an action plan to get ahead of it can help you enjoy the season as intended.
Tips for managing holiday stress
Get your hygge on
Hy-what? Hygge is a Danish term for getting cozy and you pronounce it "hue-guh". My favorite thing about hygge is that you don't need to buy anything to help bring this into your life. I really like the way Hygge House talks about it. It's something that can be experienced in completely different ways by each individual. For me, hygge is curling up in a cozy blanket on the couch with a warm cup of tea and a good book. It's enjoying the moment for what it is by being present to the simplicity and charm. It can also be eating your favorite nourishing meal and savoring every bite. Maybe it's lighting a candle and taking a bath, or meditating in your favorite room. Finding ways to hygge every day, to take care of yourself and notice the simple, cozy moments in your life can really go a long way for helping manage your stress.
Plan ahead & delegate
Knowing where you have to be and when is half the battle. The other half is knowing what you're bringing, whether it be food or gifts. If you're hosting an event, create a list of the foods needed. Ask people to pick a dish or assign a dish to everyone so you're not the one cooking all the food. For the things you do need to cook yourself, don't be afraid to make things ahead of time. Most things can be prepared 2-3 days in advance, or even a couple weeks in advance if you throw it in the freezer. Leaving it all for the day of is a recipe for stress.
It might be a little late to use this tip for this year, but I like to keep a list of gifts I find throughout the year for my family members on my phone. Whenever I hear them talking about something they want or see something that would suit them perfectly, I hop into the note on my phone and write it down. This makes gift buying so much easier each year, especially for those who say they don't want or need anything. I also keep a running list for myself so when someone asks me what I want for Christmas, I can send over something from my list really easily.
Don't feel obligated to spend $ on gifts
The holidays can be a financially stressful time of year due to the cost of gifts. It definitely doesn't have to be that way. Consider giving experiences over physical gifts. These experiences may cost money, like a trip to the zoo or dinner at a popular restaurant. But you can also give experience such as a half day hike at a local state park. Gifts like these cost time, but are very achievable financially. They're fun to give as well because they're often cashed in at a later date. If you're going along on the experience you're gifting, you get to spend some time together again outside of the holidays.
Take time for yourself
Spending some extra time and maybe even $ on self-care this time of year is definitely worth it. A client of mine spent the morning of Black Friday on self-care after spending Thanksgiving day with a lot of family. She went to yoga, then got a massage, and then did an infrared sauna session. It took a little over 3 hours and allowed her to recharge and de-stress. Consider carving out some time for a candlelit bath, a meditation, or a bundled up walk in the woods. Self-care doesn't always have to cost money, but sometimes a massage or facial is just what you need to get back on track.
Only say "yes" to things that bring you joy
There are so many awesome events that could easily fill up your nights and weekends during the holiday season. For many people, this doesn't bring joy at all. It brings a whirlwind of socialization that leaves you exhausted and wishing for it all to be over already. Consider saying no to the things that don't sound as exciting. Maybe there are multiple events happening with the same people and you can attend the one that works best for you. Or maybe you can suggest postponing until January to spread things out a bit. Whatever it is, consider if it'll actually bring you joy, make you feel good, and give you energy. If not, it might be best to say no. And you never have to feel guilty about taking care of yourself.
But, there will always be some things that you're obligated to attend, so to that I say...
Set a time limit
If you have to attend an event and you're not wild about it, agree to attend for a specific amount of time. There's nothing wrong with looking out for yourself. People will be glad you attended even if you couldn't stay the whole time.
I hope these tips help you to have a wonderful holiday season.
If you need more support with your stress or getting back on track after the holidays, you know where to find me!