The holidays are almost here, and that means it’s time to enjoy one of the most beautiful and most stressful times of the year. The quality time you spend with your family, the holiday spirit, and the many activities and events going on at work, school, and with friends and family are enjoyable, but they can be overwhelming. You have more to do but less free time to get it done, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed and lose your joy in the stress of the holiday season. Before stress takes over, stop and figure out a plan for de-stressing during the holidays. You’ll appreciate the time you’re taking now in just a few weeks.
You can say no, and you shouldn’t feel guilty for saying it. If you don’t want to go somewhere or do something, don’t do it. You’re not obligated to do most of the things you obligate yourself to do. You’re free to say no and thank you to those who issue invitations if you feel they’re causing you stress and anxiety. You can go ahead now and write down a few nights and weekend days you want to spend home in your calendar so you have something to look forward to and the inability to plan other things those days.
Lists might sound a little like common sense, but they’re more helpful than you realize. When you take the time to make lists of what you need to do, buy, order, prepare for each event throughout the holiday season, you make your own life a bit easier. When it’s all written down in front of you with checks next to the items you’ve already accomplished, it’s far easier for you to feel calm and less anxious over all you need to do. It’s also a great way to prevent yourself from forgetting things.
Prepare in Advance
Can you prepare for something in advance? Can you pack for a trip before the last minute? Can you pick out family photo ensembles in advance? Can you lay out your Christmas Eve pajamas and/or church clothes in advance so you’re not scrambling around at the last minute? Anytime you’re able to plan things and prepare for them in advance, you have more time. This time allows you to accomplish more and feel more empowered. It also minimizes the stress you feel planning things at the last minute.
The holidays are stressful, and it’s easy to let that get to you. You feel ungrateful and unhappy, but giving back can change all of that. When you take the time to give back to someone who needs it more than you and your family, it helps you put your own life in perspective. It makes your problems seem so much smaller and less like they’re the big deal you’re making them out to be. Volunteer to serve a holiday dinner, donate toys, provide Christmas for a family in need.
Sometimes all it takes is finding an angel from an Angel tree and seeing the items desired by a child of 6 or 7. They don’t want the latest electronic or a new 4-wheeler. They want socks and a new backpack for school. Seeing that other kids are desperate for something as simple as socks puts life in perspective, and it also helps you find joy in making their dreams come true.
Take Care of You
You’re no good to anyone if you’re not caring for yourself this time of year. Rather than spending your time focused on what you’re going to do for others, spend some time focused on what you’re going to do for you. Go the gym. Take a walk. Join a physical activity or class. Book a spa day, eat a healthy diet, stick to the good stuff most of the time and save the unhealthy good stuff for special occasions. If you’re caring for yourself, you’re going to feel much less stressed and overwhelmed.
Physical activity is good for you during the holidays. Not only does it help combat feelings of fatigue and guilt after eating yet another Christmas cookie, it also relieves stress and anxiety, decreases feelings of depression, and helps improve your overall mood.
Organize Your Priorities
Sometimes life gets too busy this time of year, and you must take stock of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. If you find you can’t get a moment of free time in your schedule, it’s time to look at your list of priorities and figure out which ones are the most important. Do you prefer to spend time with your kids this time of year, or do you enjoy travel? Are you getting enough of each?
If you haven’t the time for the things that matter most to you, you should reorganize your priorities and make sure you have time for what matters most. You’re not enjoying the things you’re actually doing if you’re not getting the time to do the things you really want to do.
Focus on The Positives
The holidays are a time when you get to focus on all the good in your life, but it’s easy to forget those things when you’re angry someone beat you to the last of the best deals on Black Friday or stole the best parking spot from you. Rather than focusing on how annoyed you are, how ungrateful people are, or the bad in your life, focus on the good. Focus on your good health and your ability to trek from the back of the parking lot to the store when so many people can’t even do that. It’s healthier than being angry you couldn’t get a front row spot.
The holidays are a beautiful time of year, but only if you focus on that and allow yourself to remember just how good life really is. Once you forget how to give thanks and focus on what’s positive, you give up control this time of year. Take a break, take care of you, and focus on your happiness rather than that of everyone else.