The holiday season is an opportunity to spend time with family and friends, to take some time off work, or even escape for a much-needed getaway. For all the joy and fun, so comes the stress.
The expectations of social events, gift shopping, and social get-togethers can become too much for even the most festive types. In fact, up to 8 out of 10 people can expect to experience an increase in stress over the holiday season.
With stress comes a higher risk of anxiety and depression, and reports from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show depression is an all too frequently unwelcome guest over the holidays.
All is well; because there are many ways you can minimise your stress and anxiety to allow you to enjoy the season entirely.
1. Set A Budget
Shopping can be fun, but spending money isn’t always easy, and Australian’s spend almost a $1,000 every holiday season on gifts alone if not more! It’s unavoidable, but you can minimise the damage by setting a budget before you leave home and sticking to it when you’re at the shops.
A lot of the stress that we experience during the holidays is due to financial pressure, and the Mayo Clinic suggests that setting a budget can be beneficial to your stress levels. Work out how much you can afford to spend on food and gifts, and stick to it.
I promise you those extra gifts you buy as “stocking stuffers” are just that… Stuff! The value of your love is not equal to the amount you overspend.
The Heart Foundation wants you to stay active all the time, but it’s vitally important to keep it up during the holidays. Any activity or exercise you can fit in will help reduce your stress and elevate your mood. It’s going to stimulate endorphin production and trigger a positive feeling in your body.
I get it… You might be busy, but if you can find time to exercise for half an hour three times a week, you will feel better.
If you can use it as an excuse to catch up with a friend who you’ve been planning to get in touch with. Set a date and time, with a plan to get out together. You can go walking or jogging, swimming or biking, play sports, and find time for aerobics. Once you’re done, make time to enjoy a coffee or a wine afterwards.
3. Take It Easy
This is most important of all. I don’t think I can highlight it enough. If you’re like me, you’re most likely an introvert and spending a lot of time in crowds, at social gatherings and around other people can be totally exhausting.
Please remember to take time for yourself. There are parties and gatherings, and people continuously surrounding us. It’s great to be with the ones we love and laugh about the old days. But for introverts, it’s taxing.
I know you don’t want to miss all of those great times, but what you also want to be careful of is setting unrealistic expectations on yourself. Let’s be honest, it’s impossible to do everything, and it’s okay to take time out for yourself, even if it’s just 15 minutes.
If you can’t avoid being wrapped up in everything or you do a whole lot of hosting, make sure you delegate – whether you ask everyone to bring a different dish, or you rope in the family to take on specific tasks.
4. Stay Smart
The holiday season is a time of indulgence, but it doesn’t mean you need to abandon your healthy ways. There’s no need for a free for all that will add to your stress.
Enjoy yourself, but try having healthy snacks before holiday gatherings, this way won’t over snack while you’re out.
Make sure that you’re getting plenty of sleep, as you are more likely to overindulge after a miserable night’s sleep.
5. Choose Your Battles
We all have someone in our circle that rubs us the wrong way. It’s only natural – and even though we love them, not everyone always gets along.
Allowing someone else to get under your skin, though, is just going to ruin your holiday and increase your stress levels. Learn to pick your battles, and don’t take the bait.
If you have a real problem with someone can you be willing to just set it aside and save it for another day? Trust me, even the calmest people can lose their cool during the holidays.
Self-care is a conscious choice, and this is even truer during times of more stress, such as the holiday season. Make sure you take the time and create a deliberate plan!
Remember, the holidays are supposed to be a time of fun, family and relaxation, don’t let stress interfere with this great time of year.
Stay beautiful and remember, I love you!