The weeks leading up to Christmas might as well be the busiest of the year. Surviving the holidays becomes a true challenge!
Ceaseless trips to the grocery store, the never-ending search for a parking spot at the mall, and all those office holiday parties. All while juggling a family, full-time job, or both. The most wonderful time of the year? More like the most stressful time of the year.
Sadly, our society has made the holiday season about spending money and pleasing people. There is pressure to cook the best meals, buy the best gifts, and host the best parties. Not to mention, the pressure to accept every holiday party and family gathering you get an invite too.
But somewhere, buried underneath the emotional, physical and financial demands of the season are the reasons why we celebrate in the first place. Although making it to the New Year without pulling your hair out may seem impossible, it is. Here are 7 tips for surviving the holidays.
7 Tips for Surviving the Holidays Stress-Free
If you are feeling overwhelmed while surviving the holidays, start by taking a deep breath. Deep breathing is known to combat the detrimental effects of stress and anxiety by lowering blood pressure and slowing your heart rate. In fact, it actually combats the detrimental effects of stress by promoting a relaxation response in your body. When you feel suffocated by all you have to get done, bring it back to your breath.
Take a break
Over the next few weeks, there will always be something to do. The key to avoiding the stress and anxiety and surviving the holidays is setting aside time each week for running errands and for rest. Otherwise, you will never stop because there will always be something you could be doing.
Go ahead and decide what days are times are going to be designated for holiday preparations. Then decide what days or times of day you are going to prioritize rest. After you define your parameters, protect them.
Sleep is vital all year long, but especially when surviving the holidays. Considering your sleep is most likely suffer during the last couple months of the year, it’s important you protect it.
After all, sleep only amplifies stress. So the more hours of shut-eye you miss, the more likely you are to fuss over the family holiday card, burn the Christmas cookies, and ultimately, get coal from Santa. All this to say, you’ll want to prioritize sleep if you’d like to enjoy the holiday season and make it to the New Year without pulling out of your hair out.
Not to mention, giving the gift of sleep is totally underrated. What most people wouldn’t do to get better sleep. Whether that means gifting cozy pajamas or actually purchasing a new mattress, we often underestimate just how valuable a good night of sleep can be for our physical, mental and emotional health. My advice to you—don’t only prioritize sleep this season. Consider gifting it to others.
P.S. Did you know mattresses now come compressed and rolled in a box? AMAZING. Who would have thought you could actually wrap a mattress?!
Learn it’s okay to say “no”
Ceaseless invitations flood your mailbox. How many holiday parties and Christmas dinners can one get invited too?
Around this time of year, the pressure to say “yes” to social events, familial obligations, and those once-a-year bargains are greater than ever. In fact, some of us feel enslaved to the word “yes”. It’s as if uttering the words “no, thank you” would mean we’d never be spoken to again.
Here’s the thing. It is okay to say no. Actually, it is healthy to say no. Don’t bring unnecessary stress on yourself when surviving the holidays.
When a decision presents itself ask yourself these three questions:
- Do I have the physical capacity to take this on?
- Do I have the emotional capacity to take this on?
- Do I have the financial capacity to take this on?
If the answer is no to ANY of these questions, you’ve got your decision.
Call your mom
When you have those days you just can’t handle it anymore, pick up the phone and call your mom. It doesn’t have to be your mom, it can be a sister, significant other, or best friend. But, let’s be honest, who else willingly listens to your rant?
There is truth in the saying you need to get something off your chest. Endless to-dos have a way of pressing on us, so much so, that it actually feels like we carry the weight of them on our backs. The first step in relieving the pressure weighing on you is to verbalize them. In fact, once you speak your anxieties they seem to lose their power. This is a great tip for surviving the holidays.
The key here is to verbally process your emotions and anxieties so they don’t blow up later on.
Ask for help
As humans, we are often in denial that we have limits. We like to think we can do it all, and we try. That is until we run ourselves into the ground. The truth is you can’t do it all. And that is okay! As much as you’d like to be the perfect host, perfect cook, perfect gift-giver, it’s okay to ask for the help of others. Especially when surviving the holidays. If you want to stay half sane during the holidays, it’s important to learn to do this sooner rather than later.
Remember why we celebrate
Finally, you’ll need a positive attitude when surviving the holidays without stress taking root in your heart. Remember what this season is for—celebrating family, friends, and all of life’s blessings! Don’t let it pass by in a frenzied blur. Remember to stop and appreciate the reason why you are doing the activities you are doing—hosting meals to commune with the ones you love, giving gifts to the family to express your love in a tangible way, and reflecting on just how blessed we are.
Surviving the holidays will not be so difficult when you take into consideration the above-mentioned tips. Do you have other tips to reduce the stress of the holidays? Please share them in the comments below.