As the holidays roll closer and our schedules begin to fill, an important part of stress management is the ability to feel some control over how you spend your holdiay. Part 2 of the “Stress-Free Holiday” series is about creating change to make your plans more manageable and your holiday more enjoyable. Take some time today to:
1. Remember what’s important for YOUR holiday
With so many tasks to complete, events to RSVP for, and sales to
capitalize on; it’s easy to be caught up with the details of creating the perfect holiday. Take some time to think about what is most important to you this season and define the true meaning of the holidays for YOU:
I could not enjoy my holiday without:__________________________________________.
What I’m most looking forward to this holiday is:_________________________________.
This holiday I am most grateful for:____________________________________________.
2. Redefine your holiday traditions
Holiday decorating was something I enjoyed because we did it as a family. In the last few years I have done it alone. This year, instead of decorating solo, my family and I have decided to cook dinner together. We’ve lost some of the decorative twinkle, but regaining our time together as a family is more important to me. Take some time to think about traditions that you and your family may have outgrown and list some alternatives that remain true to your holiday values. Based on your answers to the questions above, do your holiday traditions align with what’s important to you? Are there any traditions that used to be inspiring but have now become a chore?
Example: This holiday, instead of putting up Christmas decorations alone, I will cook dinner together with my family because it allows me to spend time with my loved ones.
Your turn: This holiday, instead of ___________________, I will ____________________ because it allows me to ______________________________________________________.
3. Enlisting Help
This tip isn’t just for the holidays, but for anyone who has a busy schedule and often finds themselves feeling overwhelmed. It can be easy to get caught up in the “I have to do this, and I have to do that” holiday dialogue. The easiest answer is to ask for help. For example, if you don’t have time to gift wrap, get someone to do it for you. One great way is through Epilepsy Toronto’s gift wrapping campaign hosted by many malls in the GTA (why not help others in addition to helping yourself?).
This holiday I will ask for help with ____________________________________________.
4. Avoid over-indulgence
The holidays are often synonymous with indulgence. With all the gift exchanges and dinners, it’s easy to buy and eat a little more than you should. To help decrease stress, consider changing the way you give gifts and the way you enjoy holiday meals. Too much can leave our financial senses and stomachs overwhelmed.
a) Reduce the number of gifts you need to give by opting to do Secret Santa or a Christmas gift raffle instead of buying individual gifts. This will help reduce holiday expenses without cutting down on holiday cheer.
b) Consider setting a budget limit when you’re buying gifts. Limits help clarify expectations for all involved and avoids the guilt of having spent too much or too little.
Holiday meal times
Overdoing it at the holiday buffet table can leave us with indigestion, weight-gain fears and guilt. Talk about stress! Use the following tips this holiday to keep your festive meals in balance.
a) Eat at home beforehand to avoid overdoing it at the party.
b) Limit your holiday meal to one trip through the buffet line and serve yourself one plate.
c) Be present with your food. Holiday parties can be the worst place to eat and digest. Between the festive chit chat and loud music, it can be hard to get into rest and digest mode. Count the number of times you chew and take notice of the colors and flavours of the food you’re about to eat. Mindful eating is linked to better satisfaction and satiation and lower likelihood of over indulging.
I hope this blog has inspired you to take charge and work towards being stress-free this holiday. Next week, we’ll discuss healthy and natural ways to help your body handle stress. Stay tuned!
Part 2: Control your stressors: Creating change and avoiding over-indulgence
Part 3: Handling holiday stress
Part 4: Setting up for a stress-less new year