5 Tips to Ease Holiday Stress

While holiday tunes may wish you a “Holly, Jolly Christmas” the truth is that the holidays may leave you feeling frazzled. In fact, a survey by the American Psychological Association shows that 8 out of 10 people anticipate increased stress over the holidays. In some cases, the increase in stress and anxiety may even lead to depression. 

 But you don’t have to let the holidays get the best of you. In this month’s blog, we’re sharing 5 tips for avoiding and easing stress so you can enjoy the season and all of its gifts.

1. Maintain Healthy Habits

All too often when the holidays arrive, we toss healthy habits out the window. Make an effort to stick to any healthy habits you have already created: a healthy diet, afternoon walks, morning meditation. Schedule these practices into your day if needed, but don’t abandon them for the overindulgence of the season.

Going to a party? Eat a healthy snack before you go, so those sugary sweets won’t be as tempting. A hectic day of shopping and activities? Start your day with a healthy breakfast smoothie and ten minutes of meditation

Of course, you’ll want to partake of holiday treats and activities, and indulging a little here and there is to be expected! Working to maintain regular, healthy habits throughout the season will keep you focused and you’ll feel less guilty when you do have a slice of that cheesecake.

2. Know When to Say No

The holiday season can be chaotic, and your calendar can fill up before you know it. But while you may be tempted to accept every party invitation that comes your way, it pays off to pace yourself. 

Say yes to gatherings and activities that truly bring you joy, and don’t be afraid to politely decline all others. Stagger outings with days of self-care in between. Taking time to rest and recharge will reduce stress and keep you going well through the New Year.

3. Set a Spending Budget

Finances are one of the biggest stressors during the holiday season. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation, the average American family spends more than $1,000 on Christmas gifts and decorations.

It’s easy to go overboard, especially when there are kids and grandchildren to buy for, and before you know it, you’ve racked up a mountain of holiday debt. 

Start the season right by taking an honest look at your finances, then set a realistic budget for holiday spending. Track your spending on paper or via an app like You Need A Budget and ensure that you don’t go over your limit. It will give you peace of mind and ensure that your finances don’t go off the rails.

4. Strengthen Healthy Bonds

Sometimes, less is more. Rather than spreading yourself too thin at multiple parties, create a special time for strengthening close connections with the family and friends that mean the most to you. Have a quiet meal and conversation, take a walk to see Christmas lights. 

Sometimes we’re so busy running around all season that we realize we didn’t have time to simply enjoy being with the ones we love. Don’t get so caught up in the festivities that you forget to just connect

5. Plan Ahead

Hosting a gathering? Create a plan and checklist, then delegate tasks to share the workload. Carve out your schedule for the week, setting blocks of time aside for self-care. Plan your menus ahead of time so you’re less tempted to give in to junk food.

A little prior planning and preparation will help you feel more focused and steady so you can make the most of the holidays with the ones you love.