It’s the most wonderful time of the year… and yet for many people, the holidays can bring on unwanted stress, depression, and anxiety. The shopping, crowds, pressure for everything to be perfect, holiday food stress, and time around family members you don’t normally see can be more than we can handle. This is more common than a lot of people realize, and if you find yourself a little less than merry this season, rest assured you are not alone. The following are 10 ways you can avoid holiday stress, relax, and enjoy the season.
- Get some vitamin D. Sunlight and vitamin D stimulate serotonin production and help fight seasonal affective disorder (SAD). If you can, bundle up and get outdoors for a hike or walk around the neighborhood. At the least, spend some time near a sunny window if possible.
- Get moving. Movement and exercise also stimulate serotonin production and boost your mood and energy levels. In the winter we tend to become more sedentary, so getting up and getting moving in any way you can does wonders for your mental and physical health.
- Diffuse citrus. Some lemon or orange essential oil can invigorate you and boost your mood.
- Simplify. We have so much pressure from others and ourselves to do the most, give the most, and be the most, but the truth is that is simply not necessary. Simplify your holiday this year and stick to the basics. Center your holiday season around family traditions and things that bring you joy, even if that means saying no to things.
- Stick to your routine. The holidays can be a busy time of year and it’s easy to get off track with different schedules. Sticking to your normal routine as much as possible can help you keep a sense of normalcy during the hustle and bustle.
- Don’t strive for perfection. In the world of Pinterest and social media platforms, we have even more pressure to do everything and do it perfectly. Be intentional about focusing your energy on the people you love, and stop obsessing over doing it all.
- Stay away from toxic situations. I’m all for traditions, but if there are people or things that cause you stress and drain your energy and your joy, consider letting them go and creating new customs and traditions.
- Take a tech break. Constant notifications and distractions from our technology can keep our brains on high alert and prevent us from being present. Spend less time attached to your phone and more time enjoying the company of your friends and family.
- Reach out to someone. The holidays can be extra difficult for those who have lost a loved one. It’s okay to acknowledge your feelings and talk about what you’re going through. Don’t feel obligated to be happy just because it’s the holidays.
- Stick to a budget. Make a list, check it twice, and stick to it! Don’t let the holidays force you to overspend and stress about finances.
Wishing you a stress-free and joyful holiday season!