The holiday season can be the most relaxing time of the year, but it can also be the most stressful. Between wrapping up end-of-the-year projects, preparing for holiday family gatherings, finishing up shopping, and managing your kids while they’re on winter break, it can be easy to feel driven to the edge.
When we let stress bog us down, we forget what the holidays are really about — enjoying time with family and friends and reflecting on another year of triumphs and accomplishments. To make the most of this holiday season, find strategies to relax and make it through the holidays stress-free.
Taking care of yourself first
Just like any other time of the year, it’s important that you dedicate time to truly take care of yourself and your mental health. Letting yourself fall into the background of your own life is never okay. During the season of giving and thinking of others, you’ll be especially susceptible to letting this happen.
When you feel stress start kicking in, take control over it immediately. You may combat stress best by exercising to get your heart rate up or doing some relaxing yoga. Another method to try is deep breathing techniques like the 4-7-8 technique, an exercise based on the yoga practice pranayama which forces your mind and body to focus on regulating your breath.
This breathing practice can be especially helpful when you’re having difficulties falling asleep at night. Your restorative sleep is critical to keeping your mind in its best shape, and with stress in the way, you’ll be contributing to a vicious cycle. More stress causes less sleep, which then adds more stress. Be sure to do whatever you can to find comfort, relax your mind and body, and fill up on your seven to nine hours of sleep each night to stay sane through the holidays.
Conquering holiday shopping
When you think about major stress during the holiday season, what’s one of the biggest culprits? Holiday shopping.
Malls are jam-packed, traffic is terrible, and the toy your kid is dying for has limited availability. Not to mention that panic that arises when you have to find the gift for the person who already has everything. We take pride in our gift-giving abilities and our skills at finding the perfect present for each person on our list. But putting too much pressure on ourselves can drive us crazy.
Here are a few hacks to make your holiday shopping a little easier this year:
- Use browser extensions like Honey to find the best deal when shopping online
- Find personalized gift guides to brainstorm options for the people on your list
- Take advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals by preparing beforehand
- Ask your loved ones to make wish lists on Amazon so you know exactly what they want
- Give a gift that keeps on giving like subscription food or wine services, the gift of sleep, or a gym membership
Managing your kids
As soon as winter break starts for your kids you start counting down the days until they go back to school and leave you alone.
When your child loses the routine of going to school every day, they can go a little stir crazy and drive you nuts in the meantime. While your first instinct may be to grow frustrated and threaten lumps of coal for Christmas, there are better ways to manage your children during the holiday season.
One idea is to find an exciting camp to enroll them in during their break. Whether it’s snowboarding, camping, or just a local camp, it will give your child something to do during the days instead of just getting wound up on hot chocolate on your couch all day.
The holiday season is a great time to let your child get involved in charity work as well. By supporting a local family or throwing a holiday gift party that your child can help with, you can show them the true importance of the holiday season and give them a project to keep them occupied and off your back for a while.
You may also need to make an attitude shift. You could allow this extra time with your children to drive you crazy, or you could look at it positively and enjoy the time you have with your child.
No matter what you do, you’re bound to experience some stress during the holidays. Stress is natural, and we can’t avoid it fully at any time in life. But if you remember to prioritize your well-being, be a smart shopper, and successfully balance this extra time with your children you’ll be able to enjoy your holiday season more.