Plan now to manage holiday stress…
Start your plan now to de-stress the holidays. The winter holiday season can mean you’re super busy not only at work but at home. This means more stress and all of its side effects.
Did you know we women are more prone to depression than men are? And the winter season with shorter periods of daylight can bring on depression.
Research studies have shown death rates peak in December and January across the US, regardless of what part of the country you live in. Stress is a key part of those numbers.
There are dozens of ways to make holidays less stressful, but here are 5 easy favorites.
1. Dump the expectations to reduce stress!
It is super easy to take on more than even Wonder Woman could accomplish. Think about the things that are your favorite parts of the holidays and focus on those. Delete those things that create more angst for you.
If that means cutting out long-distance travel, do it. If it means buying cookies for the school instead of baking them…do it, and don’t feel guilty.
When work gets stressful and overwhelming with clients asking for extra hours…set boundaries and stick to them.
Think about limiting your social engagements to a “doable” level. Instead of feeling obligated to be everywhere and do it all… focus on the events and people that give you the most pleasure.
2. Make holidays a family team effort.
Get the kids and spouse involved. Delegate so everyone gets a part of the workload and more engaged in the fun. Delegate set priorities and simplify.
Make NEW traditions that focus on involvement, relaxing and having fun.
If that means less decorating or less than perfect decorating or gift-wrapping…go for it.
Maybe it means getting a grip on the spending and setting limits on the quantity and price of purchases.
Maybe it means teaching kids the benefits of helping others. One less gift for themselves and the opportunity to pick out something for someone less fortunate.
3. Get active…
When we get busy and stressed, often the first thing to go is the exercise routine. Just 30 minutes of moderate exercise makes a huge difference in stress management. Take the kids and the dogs and get out in the fresh air for a walk.
Weather too lousy for outdoors? Walk at the mall. Or move exercise into your living or family room. Kids love games and videos – dig out the PlayStation, Xbox, Wii or Nintendo. There are great exercise games available for all of them. Let everyone join in and it becomes playtime.
Studies have shown video exercise games are just as effective as a gym workout or a 30-minute walk.
4. Start early to reduce stress
If you wait until the last minute, things always get more stressful. Starting early can make all the difference. Shop early, bake early (and freeze), and decorate in stages. If you mail out cards or write a holiday letter… get them ready to go now.
My personal favorite part of this is shopping. When we go on vacation…regardless of what time of year that is, I look for gifts that the recipient will love and allow them to share something from our experience. Be sure to put them where you’ll be able to find them months later and label them with the recipient’s name.
5. Entertaining? Get guests involved.
Instead of trying to do it all, make it a potluck and let each guest contribute. Guide them with choices so you get a nice diversity not six of the same thing.
To minimize party stress, keep it relaxed and casual.