Tips For Stress Relief For The Holidays


The holidays always present us with the same challenge every year. That is how do we embrace special moments without sacrificing our sanity.

Holidays, as we know, can be a particularly stressful time for everyone. There's the cleaning and decorating to do, the relatives and friends to invite, the menus to plan, the cookies and cakes to bake, the gifts to buy and wrap, the children to get dressed. Under these conditions, it is particularly easy for you to suffer from what we call “holiday stress”!


Managing holiday stress then becomes a challenge. Many people simply ignore its presence, hoping that everything will be all right once the holidays are over. As a result, you end up feeling stressed out. Instead of feeling the joy, fun and thrill of what holidays are meant to be, you dread the day as it approaches hoping that you do not have to go through it at all.

This definitely is not the way to spend your holidays.

Coping with holiday stress need not be difficult. Here are some tips for stress relief for the holidays

 1. First and foremost, have realistic expectation, not perfection.

Very often, we like to envision the ideal holiday that we all long to have, a lovely party, excellent food, perfect gifts etc. Below this picture of perfection is how things would really turn out to be. If the gap between this two is small, it would really be motivating and you tend to look forward to the forthcoming holidays but in reality, the gap is usually huge and this create a lot of unnecessary stress upon you. You would tend to work or try extra hard to reach that picture of perfection and very often you end up stressed out well before the holiday itself.

So, start off by having a more realistic mindset. Think over what you are capable of doing and stick to that instead of reaching for something beyond you.

2. Be systematic and plan ahead. Look upon it as a project.

You would be very familiar with working on projects as you do all the time in your job. Treat your task in preparing for the holidays as if it’s a project. List down the tasks to be done. Draw up time frame for each task to be completed. Detail out the mini-steps that should be taken to accomplished the tasks. Doing so helps to put you in a state of mental ease knowing that you are in full control and in ensuring that everything that needs to be done will be taken care of. This planning ahead helps in preventing last minute rush as well.

3. Set a budget

According to a recent poll done by the American Psychological Association (APA), money issues were the top vote for holiday stress. The survey found that 61% of Americans listed lack of money as the top cause of holiday stress.
Start off by deciding on the amount of money that you wish to spend on the holiday’s preparations and stick to it. Overspending will only create additional stress for yourself as you struggle to pay the bills months later.

4. Learn to delegate tasks

With a well laid out plan and a well thought out budget, it’s time to start working. But instead of doing all the work on your own and be physically worn out, learn to delegate. Rope in your family members and friends to help out. You may assign shopping task to your husband and gifts wrappings to your kids. Ask friends to help in baking a cake or cooking up some of their specialty dishes.
Try catering if you do not wish to cook for the day if your budget allows or if not what about potluck.
Very often, we tend to focus on the big day itself and thought that everyone would be the same. However, the fun may well be in the preparation itself.

5. Adopt positive thinking

Be positive about things. Instead of conjuring up images of every catastrophe that could befall your family celebration, think of everything that could go well. Stop worrying about how your family and friends would think about the party or whether they would like the food, the gifts and everything. Instead mentally rehearse how you would prepare yourself to handle these situation should it arises. This would reduce your anxiety and make you feel more at ease and confident to handle any problems, putting a stop to further “wheel-spinning” worries.

6. Give yourself a break.

In preparing for the holidays, you will tend to stress yourself out both physically and mentally. So take a break. Indulge in activities and hobbies that will help you de-stress like listening to music at a quite corner of your house, read a book or take a walk with your dog in the park. Just simply take your mind off the holidays and forget about it for a while. You will be more refresh when you are back to it again.

7. Stay Healthy

Overeating and drinking, late nights are expected of holiday parties and gatherings, so ensure you keep a conscience effort to stay healthy. Keep to your routine as much as possible, get sufficient sleep and rest and keep unhealthy food to the lowest possible. It would save you from unnecessary stress after the holidays when you need to shed those extra pounds. Keeping fit will help maintain a healthy immune system, which will help you in fighting off the effects of stress.

Holidays are meant to be enjoyed and time to catch up with old friends and family members. It’s not meant to create more stress to you. So, learn to relax. Things will find a way to fall in place unexpectedly. Stop worrying.  Instead try to keep focused on the things that you really enjoy about holidays and those memories will keep the hassles in perspective. To your stress free Holidays!

Be sure to read more on the different types of stress and how to cope with them using some stress management tips