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The holidays are their own kind of mystery. For some of us, the holidays provide endless magical hope and happiness, for others massive despair and depression. I mostly love the holidays, but I think it is mostly because I have children and I get to watch the happiness in their eyes when they get excited about the holidays. That being said, I have had some years when I was dreading Christmas and I really, really didn’t want it to happen. So yes, I totally understand why people get down. The stress of the holidays can just be too much to handle. The question is, how can we beat holiday stress?
As parents we are faced with feelings of needing to be everything for our families during the holidays. We feel less than if we aren’t able to buy all of the gifts the kids want. We feel like failures if we aren’t able to get to all of the holidays activities that we had hoped for for our children. It’s important to note though that we do not need to be everything, we do not need to buy everything and we do not need to attend every activity. Missing the mark on some or even all of these does not affect our ability to be wonderful parents.
I get it though, it’s hard to turn those feelings off. That being said, there are ways that we can lower our holiday stress so that these feelings aren’t quite so forceful and imposing on our minds this holiday season.
By now we all know how bad stress can be on our health. Did you know though that according to a widely regarded study done in 1999, there are more heart attacks in December and January than there are in any other months of the year? I found this quote in the study to be quite telling:
Although cooler temperatures may play a role, other factors such as overindulgence or the stress of the holidays might also contribute to excess deaths during these peak times.
– retrieved from https://ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/01.cir.100.15.1630
Yes, you read that right. There are more people dying from stress during the holiday season than any other time of the year!
Even if we aren’t focused on the health risks, stress affects our lives in other ways too. When we are more stressed out, we are far more likely to yell at our kids, to get angry or just be sad and anxious. Do you want your kids to hear you yell, getting angry or being sad this holiday season? I didn’t think so.
So how about it? How about we fight this battle before it begins. Let’s beat holiday stress before it can beat us! Are you in?
Beat Holiday Stress and Actually Enjoy the Holidays This Year
Here are some great tips that can help you beat holiday stress and actually enjoy the holidays this year.
Shop Online to Beat Holiday Stress
If crowds make you anxious and you don’t like dealing with the wait of holiday lines, grab some coffee and your laptop and do some online shopping. It’s quick, it’s easy, and you never have to leave your couch. Many retailers offer free shipping so you don’t have to deal with added shipping costs (if you don’t see a free shipping offer, be sure to check for free shipping promo codes).
Set a Budget to Beat Holiday Stress
I don’t know the exact numbers here, but I would bet that a significant portion of holiday stress is about money. There is no question that many, many people put themselves into debt by overextending themselves during the holidays. For the record, when you go into debt for Christmas you are going to be stressed about that debt all year long, not just the holidays. You can beat the money related holiday stress by setting a budget and sticking to it. I recommend an overall holiday budget as well as a per person budget when you are doing your holiday shopping.
Beat the Holiday Stress by Saying No
Learn how to say no. It’s okay to say no sometimes. You simply cannot volunteer for everything you are asked to do and you shouldn’t be expected to. Don’t overschedule yourself with holiday activities. If that means that you miss this year’s holiday concert, or you aren’t able to make your famous fruitcake this year, then so be it. You need to take care of you this holiday season in order to beat holiday stress burnout.
Beat Holiday Stress by Practicing Self Care
If you are taking care of yourself during the holidays, you are going to feel better. If you feel better, you are going to be less stressed. It’s a win-win. I suggest putting your favorite self care routine into your calendar regularly to help you stay calm and relaxed despite the busyness of the season. Exercising and eating healthy should stay a part of your self care routine, as well as any of your other favorite things to do to take care of your physical and mental health.
Enlist Help to Beat Holiday Stress
If you have a lot on your plate this holiday season, don’t be afraid to enlist help. Consider asking your spouse, or your children to step up and help a little bit. If you have a party to prepare for, get the whole family involved in preparing the house. If you are behind on wrapping, have your spouse or older children help with this chore. There are plenty of opportunities for others to help, make sure you let them know that you need it.
Put Yourself in a Time Out Every Day to Beat Holiday Stress
This could probably be listed under the self-care section, but honestly it deserves a mention of its own. I know you probably chuckled when you read “put yourself in a time out”, right? I’m totally serious though. You need to take time to relax, slow down and breath. Give yourself 10 minutes each day of quiet solitude. You can do this by waking up before the rest of the family and enjoying your coffee in silence, you can take a hot bath at the end of the day and soak your stress away, or you can simply lock yourself in your room with strict instructions that you are not to be disturbed, you can choose how you take your time outs. I’ve done all three of the time out suggestions mentioned, and all three have worked wonders for my stress levels.
Do you find yourself getting stressed out over the holidays? How have you found to prevent this stress?