Hello everyone and welcome back to Lost Online! This week I’m doing something a little bit different for you! I recently wrote a guest blog post for my friend Jenna Summers of Dynamic Lifestyle Solutions about how you can manage stress during the holidays. Because we both know that there’s A LOT of that!
In this guest blog post, I shared 10 easy tips to help you manage stress, anxiety, and overwhelm during the “most wonderful time of the year” (lol).
Because I’ve heard from so many of my followers, readers, and fellow content creators that you’re feeling stressed out by the holidays too, I thought I should re-share this blog post on Lost Online!
So, without further ado, here are 10 ways you can manage your holidays stress!
10 Ways to Manage Holiday Stress
by Holistic Health & Accountability Coach and Wellness Blogger, Heather Ione
The fireplace crackles in the living room, your favorite Christmas movie plays on the t.v., and you and your family huddle around to decorate the tree. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right?
Well if you ask the vast majority of Americans, statistics actually point to the holidays be the most STRESSFUL time of year, not the most wonderful. According to a survey from Think Finance and reported by NBC News, 45% of Americans would prefer to skip Christmas!
On top of that, nearly a quarter of Americans reported having “extreme stress” around the holidays, according to a poll by the American Psychological Association.
69% of people report that they are stressed by the feeling of having a “lack of time;” 69% percent are stressed by the feeling of having a “lack of money;” and 51% are stressed out about the “pressure to give or get gifts.”
In reality, the holidays are a stressful event, because that stress comes from all angles: Financial demands, negotiating the family dynamics, trying to keep up with healthy habits, extra cooking, cleaning, and decorating – all with that nagging thought in the back of your head that the holidays have to be MAGICAL!
It’s no wonder why 45% of Americans want to skip Christmas. In fact, my family HAS actually skipped Christmas before! Twice! But trust me, taking a year off is great sometimes, but that stress still comes back around full force next year.
So, to help you navigate this overwhelming time of year, I’ve put together a list of TEN things you can do to manage stress during the holidays this year. If you do all ten of these things this December, you may just be lucky enough to dodge of holiday stress statistics. Let’s get into it!
1. Be Realistic About Your Traditions
Do you feel like your holiday has to be perfect? Do you feel like everyone has to have the “perfect” gift, the decorations and cooking has to be “just-so”, and holiday traditions must be followed flawlessly? Know that the holidays DON’T have to be perfect or just like they were in previous years. As we grow and change, and as our families expand, traditions have to change too. Choose a few things that you’d like to hold onto, but don’t be afraid for your holidays to be different. For example, if you have adult children that can’t come home for Christmas this year, adopt a new fun thing to do with your partner, go on a skiing trip, see a Christmas play, or exchange holiday emails with your family to share pictures. Find ways to celebrate that might be new. You just might find a tradition you like better.
2. Stick to a Budget
Well before you go shopping for everyone’s gift, sit down and decide how much you would like to spend. From there, brainstorm gifts that you would like to give each one of your family members. That way you have a plan of action and you’ll know just how much you’ll be spending. This removes some of the financial burdens, prevents that surprise when you discover how much you’ve spent, and keeps you from wandering around the mall all day searching for gift ideas.
3. Plan Your Schedule
Before you let a bunch of holiday and work-related tasks sneak up on you in all the holiday madness, plan your schedule out. Set aside specific days for shopping, cooking, decorating, and visiting people. Don’t forget to think about your work-related tasks here too. Schedule out your time well in advance that way you can get it all done and BLOCK OUT the days when you’ll be with family so that you can give your undivided attention to them.
4. Say “No.”
If you ask me, one of the hardest things to do is say “no” to people when they’re asking a favor of me. Whenever people ask me to do things, and I say no, I find that I’m too timid and allow people to pressure me into it anyway, or I just say yes because I’m too nervous to have that awkward conversation. But saying “Yes” to tasks during the holidays only piles more work on during the most overwhelming time of the year and leaves you feeling resentful. Friends, family, and colleagues will understand when you say no! It’s not like they don’t understand the holiday stress too.
5. Don’t Abandon Healthy Habits
Whatever you do at this time of year, don’t abandon your healthy habits. Your body is already at a high level of stress, if you ignore your healthy eating, stop exercising, stop taking your supplements, drink more, and get less sleep, you’ll not only be stressed but SICK too! Plus the overindulgence only adds to feelings of shame and guilt, which are the emotions you really don’t want to throw into the mix while hearing passive-aggressive comments from your in-laws and rushing to cook something. It will only leave you feeling worse.
6. Continue with Self-Care
Isn’t it crazy how self-care is always the first thing to go when you’re in a state of stress and overwhelm? It’s the one thing that you need the absolute most! As indulgent as it may seem to you, self-care is crucial for our well-being. It produces feel-good hormones, puts you in a better mood, boosts confidence, gives you energy, and reminds YOU that you’re important too. This is so important because you have to fill YOURSELF up before an entire house full of people that you’re hosting. Your day is going to run MUCH smoother if you do.
7. Get a Massage
Before you read “Get a Massage” and instantly scroll to the next point, I want you to stop and think about how you feel after you get a massage. Think about that amazing post-massage, relaxed state that’s unlike any level of relaxation you’ve experienced before. Your body feels a thousand times better, you can stand up straighter, the tension in your muscles is all gone, your mind is calm, and walk out of the massage room smiling. If you ask me, that’s feeling is something we should set aside time for every December. We all know, just how much stress and wreak havoc on your entire body. What if you could undo all of that damage in a 60-minute massage? How much better would you feel this holiday season?
8. Spark Joy
We’ve all heard of Marie Kondo’s method of “sparking joy” at this point, right? She only has a best-selling book and Netflix show now after all! Well, maybe we should take her advice at this time of year too, not JUST when we’re cleaning out our closets. What I mean by sparking joy is holiday season is by watching, listening, and surrounding yourself with things that make you happy: Christmas music, festive holiday movies like “Love Actually,” Christmas decorations, cinnamon-scented candles, etc. Because its easy to get so wrapped up in our stress about bills, deadlines, and appointments. To compensate for that, surround yourself with joyful things that take you back to a time before the word “bills” was even in your vocabulary.
9. Incorporate Gratitude
If you’ve heard of me and my blog, Lost Online Blog, then you’re probably well aware of how obsessed I am with practicing gratitude! I believe that gratitude is an extremely important practice that we should all make a daily habit – but especially during the holidays. As much as our culture pushes that this season is about excess and consumerism, we all know that it’s not. The holidays are about being together, making memories, and appreciating what we ALREADY have. So close the online shopping tabs on your computer, and practice gratitude! Make it a habit to focus on gratitude every day for a least 10 minutes. If you do this morning and night it will bring so much more peace and happiness into your day and make for a much less stressful holiday season. If you’d like to read more about my daily gratitude practice, check it out on my blog LostOnlineBlog.com.
10. Take a Break
Last but not least, remember to take a breather each day. There can be a lot going on once you’re finally with your family and all under the same roof for the holidays, and we all know that there can be chaos and drama! When that time does come, remember to take a break. Take some time for yourself each day to just be ALONE – without distractions, without conversations, without noise. Take some time to just sit in peace and quiet, and just BE. This simple practice will reduce your stress significantly, clear your mind, and restore your inner calm.
BONUS TIP: If all else fails, go to therapy. Seriously, it’s almost 2020, there’s no stigma about seeing a therapist anymore. I used to be SO SCARED to see a therapist because I was afraid about what I thought it would say about me. But seeing a therapist doesn’t mean that you’re crazy or broken. There are just some things that you can’t talk to certain friends and family about. For example, maybe your mother-in-law goes out of her way to control you and make passive-aggressive comments whenever you two are together. That’s not exactly something you can vent to your husband about. So if you’re finding yourself overwhelmed with the family dynamics, or finances, or mound of tasks and you need something more than a list about how to manage stress, see a therapist! You will be so thankful that you did.
Don’t become another statistic this holiday season and don’t let the holidays become something that you dread. Take the steps and precautions that you need to restore your inner calm and prevent a full-blown, holiday-induced meltdown.
Thank you for reading! I’m Heather Ione, an Holistic Health & Accountability Coach and Wellness Blogger from St. Petersburg, Fla. I’ve made it my mission to inspire other women to live happy, healthy lives through self-help and self-discovery, lifestyle changes, spirituality, and conscious technology use. Because of our modern world, while wonderful, challenges us daily and can prevent us from reaching our full potential. Through chemical-ridden products, consumerism, flawless social media accounts, societal pressure, personal challenges, health issues and more, it can be difficult to be yourself, stay well, and chase those crazy dreams.
Photos by Whitnie Williams @Whitawill
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