12 Tips to Beat Holiday Stress and Rediscover Joy
Updated: Oct 30, 2019
Holidays can be a stressful time if you allow them to be. This post is a reminder to focus on the good parts so that the last quarter of this year is filled with joy and happiness rather than stress and anxiety. These are my go to tips for when the holidays begin to roll around so you can rediscover joy!
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1. Find something that you love about each holiday coming up and focus on that. Go all out with that thing.
Stick to the events that you love most about each holiday and hold them closely. Make them everything you can imagine and better. What I enjoy most about Christmas is decorating the tree. Make this a huge event for your friends or family. Take time to tell the stories that go along with each personal tree ornament or piece of décor. Make treats and hot cocoa then put on some Christmas Bing Crosby. My biggest piece of advice is to not get caught up in having a perfect tree.. mix and match old and new. Create a tree that is personal and cozy, not one that looks sharp and edgy.
Apply this mentality to what ever favorite activity you have for each holiday. Decide on one, or five, whatever you do... really do it.
2. Focus on the bounty of life around us
This includes the food on our table as well as the people we love. For Thanksgiving, I choose to focus in the tradition of cooking with my mom. If you let it, cooking for a large group can be very stressful. Rather than letting it overwhelm you, have fun by making traditions or trying new recipes. Make a party of the prepping the day before rather than think of it as a chore. Doing this will make the cooking just as fun as enjoying the feast the next day. When all of your friends and family are gathered, choose to be positive. Talk about the things you know make your brother or your aunt just light up and shine. By bringing out the best in your guests, you can avoid any annual tiffs about politics or intrusive personal questions.
Take time to unwind, relax and rest. You might be busy but this step is crucial to make sure you are not too tired to actually enjoy all your hard work.
4. Make holidays personal not commercial
Decide on what holidays mean to you and how you want to experience them. Do not focus on fancy gifts and modern decor, get to your roots and make this time truly yours. You do not need to be perfect, you need to focus on making this holiday personal and joyous.
5. Create a Budget
One of the biggest stress causers in life is money. If you do not create a budget for gifts, food, and get togethers, you will create unnecessary stress by spending too much. Be practical, decide what you want to spend and stick to it.
6. Holidays do not have to be a fancy occasion
Get some bubbly and a deck of cards and make it a fun night. Play some card games while waiting for midnight to keep everyone engaged. My family and I played Heads up for at least 2 hours and had an overall calm, cozy night. We all danced at midnight after throwing back champagne, making a simple evening an unforgettable one.
7. Do not forget "Me time"
It is easy to lose yourself when trying to please everyone else. Take some time to enjoy a few things for yourself. Make sure that your party has one of YOUR favorites. It is good to be selfless but not to completely lose yourself in the process.
8. Remember what holidays are for
As we see more ads, shop more, get irritated with organizing our parties, we forget why we celebrate these holidays in the first place. Reconnect with why you are even celebrating. Without a why, you will never rediscover the joy.
9. Practice Gratitude and Give
One way to remember what holidays are for is to practice gratitude and to give. Be thankful for what you have and give instead of take. Volunteer and donate during this time. Encourage those around you to join in!
10. Reconnect with your younger self
Do you remember waking up Christmas morning full of JOY and anticipation? Or how about feeling so excited to stay all the way up to midnight for New Years? Or coming inside with red noses and cold fingers to have a steaming cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows? When we were young, we truly understood this holiday time and enjoyed every single second of it. Try to remember this joy, let go of your adult inhibitions and have fun like a child again. Create a snow angel, have a snow ball fight, add marshmallows and fully embrace this season.
11. Indulge yourself a little
Holidays are full of sweets, carbs and endless amounts of food. I am a health nut, but you need to know when to let go a little and indulge. Do not over indulge, but have the piece of pie and drink the hot chocolate. We make connections over food. Passing on food is passing on a stronger connection. Plus, you deserve to satisfy your sweet tooth every once in a while!
12. Connect with your love ones
Ultimately, the holiday season is one to connect with friends and family. Take the time to listen to those around you, catch up, tell stories and laugh together. Be present with everyone while you are cooking or decorating. Ask questions and make people feel wanted at the holiday events.
The final take from this post is to not get caught up on having a top notch fancy holiday. Keep them simple and focus on the important parts of these times and why we really celebrate them. If this is kept in mind, you are sure to have a memorable time this holiday season!
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