Increased spending, tense visits with extended family, and crowds everywhere you go. Blissful memories of holidays past that you can never seem to quite recapture. Sure, the holidays do have their high points, but for many of us they’re an incredibly stressful time of year. How can you stay calm through the storm?
Keep Up Your Workouts
As busy as your holiday schedule may be, don’t give in to the temptation to skip workouts. Not only will it help you work off those extra holiday calories, it will give you an outlet for stress, help you sleep soundly, and probably give you a little alone time. If you typically workout at home, but expect to have a houseful, consider a short term gym membership or a fitness class outside your home. If that will stretch your budget too much, prepare for the weather and get outdoors. Walk, run, start a snowball fight, anything to get moving and destress.
Make A Budget And Stick To It
Money is one of the biggest stressors during the holidays. Of course, we all feel compelled to spend loads of money on big meals and gifts and decor. Whether your budget is big or small, it’s vitally important to create a budget that won’t drive you into debt and stick to it. Sticking to your budget is a little easier if you’ve been saving up for holiday expenses. If you haven’t got some money set aside though, find places to cut back on spending to make up the difference. Buying someone a smaller gift (or even limiting the recipients on your gift list) is so much better than burying yourself in debt and all the stress that comes with it.
Give Meditation A Try
Christmas Eve in a house full of people who are driving you crazy is not the best time to start a meditation practice. However, if you start before the holidays are in full swing and make it a daily habit, then it can be a powerful tool to combat stress through the holidays and all year long. Meditation involves focusing on the present. Rather than trying to clear your mind or think about nothing, meditation helps you pause and recenter in the midst of chaos. That’s something we could all use during the holidays.
Get Some Sunlight
With so much focus on protecting our skin from harmful ultraviolet rays, it became increasingly common for people to develop conditions such as low Vitamin D levels due to too little sun exposure. During the cold weather, we tend to stay indoors more often, getting even less sunshine. While it’s true that you should wear sunscreen and avoid sunburn, your body still requires some sunshine to function properly. Sunlight first thing in the morning can help your body produce melatonin at the proper time to aid in falling asleep. It even boosts serotonin production, helping to melt away that holiday stress.
Don’t Procrastinate on Shopping
Ditto for wrapping, shipping, and everything else you can do in advance. Waiting til the last minute during peak shopping season is worse than usual procrastination because when you do finally drag yourself to the store, it is even more stressful. Add crowds and picked-over selection to your already rushed mood and you have a recipe for a terrible experience. The story is the same for major shippers. Even if you shop online, you risk your item not arriving in time or paying a lot more for expedited shipping methods. Save yourself all that stress by just not waiting until the last minute.
Be mindful of the fact that the holiday season will end as swiftly as it began, just like it does every year. The good parts and the bad parts are all temporary, so the better you cope with the down sides, the more you’ll be able to enjoy the great parts.