how to: dealing with holiday stress

dealing with holiday stress

What do you think about when you think of the holidays? Do you think of warm, cozy nights by the fire while a soft blanket of snow falls outside? Do you think of delicious meals with family and friends? Do you remember the true meaning (peace, gratitude, love) or are you overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done? For many of us, work/life balance tends to go out the window as we scramble to magically make it all happen. This can lead to a lot of stress which in turn puts a damper on the whole season. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We’ve put together a little list of ways to help you along so that by January you can start the new year refreshed, not frazzled.

  • One of the biggest stresses, of course, is money. No matter your budget, we all seem to overspend this time of year. Consumerism is at an all time high and often we find ourselves buying gifts just for the sake of it. We end up with unnecessary items that just pile up and get discarded, which in turn contributes to our ever-growing environmental impact. That old saying, “it’s the thought that counts” has been forgotten. But thoughtful gifts are the best gifts. And the best gifts don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Consider homemade options. Preserves, a plant cutting, and a candle are always appreciated - not only for their beauty but because they’re personal and meaningful.

    Does it feel like your list just keeps growing and growing? Secret Santa to the rescue! This one is a win-win for everyone as it eliminates unnecessary ‘stuff’ that was most likely not wanted or needed in the first place, and it saves time, allowing you to focus on one special gift. Plus it’s a fun surprise!

    And speaking of unnecessary ‘stuff’, why not give the gift of experience this year? Plan a hike in the woods with a lovely picnic, go see a play at your community theatre or catch some live music at the local pub. Special doesn’t have to be extravagant and the memories will last a lifetime.

    (Make sure to keep an eye out for our next post for some more affordable, low-waste gift recommendations!)

Take time to yourself

  • Whether you’re a social butterfly or a quiet wallflower, the amount of entertaining and socializing this time of year can be draining, both physically and mentally. Rule number 1: it’s ok to say ‘no’. You don’t have to accept every single invitation. Listen to your body. If it’s craving a long hot soak in the tub followed by some Netflix, indulge! Chances are, if you weren’t in the mood, it wouldn’t have been fun and you’re much better off scheduling some one-on-one time with friends for a real catch up later.

  • Sometimes the holidays can feel like an endless buffet table. Eat, drink, repeat. Again, the key is to be kind to yourself. You might not make it to the gym, but you can certainly go for a brisk walk. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water and do your best to keep to your normal sleep and skincare routines. Finally, try to squeeze a few healthy options in amongst the wine, cheese and chocolate!

    If you’re the host this year, the most important thing to remember is there’s no such thing as perfect. Planning ahead goes a long way and don’t be afraid to ask for help! Everybody loves a good potluck; it lightens the load for you and turns the meal into a communal experience. Plus, if any guests have dietary restrictions they can be responsible for their own dish, which also saves time and energy on your end.

  • Ah, the joys of holiday travel. Traffic, weather, lost luggage, cancelled flights. All of these things are completely out of our hands. Be prepared. Accept that things may not go as smoothly as anticipated. If you’re traveling with children, make sure the iPad is loaded with games and entertainment. It’s always a good idea to slip a change of clothes into your carry on in the unlikely event that your bags don’t make it. Give yourself plenty of time to get there; better to be early than madly rushing. Make sure you are well rested and remember that the journey is part of the experience. But most importantly, breathe. Just breathe.

We’d love to hear how you make it through the holidays stress-free. Do you have any stories or tips you’d like to share? How do you stop yourself from getting overwhelmed? We hope this season brings you health and happiness and that you are able to relax, enjoy and be in the moment with loved ones!