Feeling a little overwhelmed by your December plans? As I shared yesterday, unnecessary expectations of Christmas celebrations can add a lot of stress – even when you try to avoid it.
Ever since my show choir days two decades ago when multiple Christmas performances were crammed into each December school day, I’ve been dealing with the stress that comes during the Advent season. (How strange, when the season of expectation should bring peace and joy.)
I’ve acquired a variety of ways that I like to ease my holiday stress – here are six of my favorite tips:
1. Know your triggers.
As you’re feeling stressed this December, make a mental note of what is causing the stress. Is it crowded stores? Is it an overly-filled schedule? Is it too many unrealistic expectations? Is it hosting parties? Is it attending your work Christmas party?
2. Brainstorm solutions.
Once you’ve figured out your triggers, find some obvious ways to eliminate them. For me, feeling like I had so much to do was a major stressor. One year I made a huge to-do list that included every single task that was on my plate. Once I saw everything written down and could delegate when I needed to accomplish certain tasks, my stress disappeared. I still was busy, but my stress was gone.
3. Just say no.
To avoid stress, chances are you’ll need to say no to certain obligations and expectations. Don’t be afraid to say it.
4. Watch what you drink.
It may be tempting to guzzle caffeine or alcohol to deal with your stress. Don’t do it. Too much caffeine will leave you jittery and too much alcohol will intoxicate you. If you must sip a cup of coffee to wake up or a glass of wine to relax, then stick to just one. The best beverage of choice is water – drink plenty of water to hydrate yourself, flush out toxins, and help feel your best.
5. Watch what you eat.
Christmas cookies and unhealthy snacks may be everywhere you turn, but stick to nutritious choices. You’ll feel much better after munching on fresh fruits and veggies or a handful of tree nuts.
6. Get some rest.
Don’t run yourself ragged – make sure you get time to rest during this month. Take a break with a cup of hot tea, a candle, and a Christmas story. Go to bed early whenever possible. And plan to take an occasional nap by the light of your Christmas tree.
How do YOU like to relieve holiday stress?
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