9 Ways to Overcome the Stress of the Holiday Season
Posted Dec 17 2009 11:13am
December and the Holidays are supposed to be a time filled with good times, cheer, and happiness. But for many people they are filled with fighting traffic, dealing with crowds in stores (okay, unless you do all your shopping online), eating (and oftentimes drinking) too much, and entertaining family and friends.
It’s the season when you’re expected to cram in shopping, baking, office parties, and family gatherings into your already busy life. In short, the holidays can mean S-T-R-E-S-S. And stress can often lead to overeating, which in turn leads to feeling bad about oneself and one’s body, which can then lead to more stress. See the vicious circle?
But don’t despair. It’s not too late to put some sanity into the crazy days of December. Here are some tips to help you deal with – or even avoid – holiday stress.
1) Lower expectations. Don’t hold yourself up to an unrealistic standard and feel you have to do it all. Take a look at your holiday activities. Are there things you do each year that you don’t really enjoy? Go to the events you really want to attend. Don’t drag yourself from event to event. Think quality, not quantity.
2) Make a shopping list and check it twice. Organize what gifts you need to buy and stick to it. Being organized will help you avoid any oversights and you’ll be less likely to make any impulse purchases. However, I also keep some extra small gifts around the house to avoid panic for any last-minute parties or events.
3) Keep moving. Exercise is a great stress reliever. Though you may have less time to exercise this time of year, be sure to fit some in. Instead of watching the holiday special for the hundredth time, take a brisk walk outside. The light from outside will also help diminish blue feelings.
4) Eat well and be merry. Don’t let the holidays be an excuse to abandon your healthy habits. Have some healthy foods throughout the day, especially if you’ll be attending a party later in the evening. But DON’T skip meals hoping to “save up” for later. Be sure to eat regularly and keep some healthy foodson hand for a quick snack. Also, indulgence is okay but no need to go overboard. That fourth or fifth cookie really won’t make a difference, except on your waist!
5) Go easy on the alcohol. Not only will drinking too much tempt you to overeat, you’ll also feel lousy the next day. Have a glass of eggnog, but know your limits.
6) Make some time for yourself. Take some time each day to be alone without any distractions. With all of the hustle and bustle of the season it’s especially important to wind down a bit and rejuvenate.
7) Plan easy meals. Make doubles of your favorite soups or dishes. Keep some in the fridge or even freeze them for a quick meal on a busy day.
Lighten up and set differences aside. The holidays can bring up family issues and stresses. Let go of the idea of the perfect family holiday and realize all may not go smoothly. Try to accept family members and friends as they are, even if they don’t live up to all your expectations.
9) Remember the reason for the season. Appreciate what you have and the small things in life. Don’t forget to take time to have fun with family and friends. Bake together, go looking at holiday lights or just sit and talk over a warm cup of cocoa. Also, don’t forget those who are less fortunate. Go help someone in need. There are plenty of people who don’t have friends and family to share the holidays with and just a little bit of your time will make their holiday season that much brighter.
So take it all in, relax, and remember that the holiday season should be fun, not stressful.