If the holiday season is putting too much stress on you, you are probably in need of some ways to de-stress during the holidays! The holidays is my favorite time of the year, but it can get a little hectic. The family gatherings, the parties, the shopping — even though you love it all, it can all take its toll and make you stressed and unhappy. But you don’t have to decline every party invitation and hide like a hermit while you try to unwind… accept half of the dozens of invitations that come your way, and keep reading! Here are 15 ways to de-stress during the holidays.
1. Take a Day off
Do you really need to work every single day, all day, during the holiday season? And on your days off, is it so important to rush around getting everything done? No. Take a day off. Stay in your pajamas, drink tea and laze on the couch watching back episodes of your favorite TV shows. You’ll be amazed at how de-stressed and relaxed you’ll feel after these 8 stolen hours.
2. Take a Bath
If you can’t take the whole day off, at least take an hour off — and spend it in a steamy hot bath. Use your favorite bubbles or bath salts, and just relax.
3. Find a Happy Scent
Sometimes all you need to help you relax and de-stress is the scent of something you love. Maybe it’s a steaming mug of Trader Joe’s mango black tea, or the stolen joy of the smell when a co-worker peels an orange, or your favorite spring-time perfume. Find a scent that makes you happy, and keep it handy for tiny little pick-me-ups.
4. Get It Done Early
There are few things as stressful as rushing around the mall with a thousand other poor schlubs, all bent on finishing their holiday shopping at the last minute. It’s impossible to park, it’s cold and snowy out, the roads are a mess, the stores are crowded, and you can’t find the gifts you’re looking for. Save yourself the stress and get your shopping done bit by bit, a little every week, ahead of time. If you can’t get it done early, then get it done online!
5. Let Someone else Cook or Host
We all want to be the gracious, elegant hostess, and we’re all very good at it… but sometimes, the stress of having to host all of the parties all of the time is just too much. Once in a while, let someone else bear the brunt of dinner and party planning, while you get to be a guest. A gorgeous, elegant, charming guest.
6. Lay off the Caffeine
It’s a proven fact that caffeine makes some people nervous and it adds to stress. It may help keep you moving in the morning, but if you’re already feeling pressured, it’s a good idea to switch to decaf during the holidays.
7. Don’t Be so Hard on Yourself
No-one expects everything you do to be perfect… except you. Chances are, you’re your own worst critic, and the stress of living up to your own expectations is probably stressing you out. Stop being so hard on yourself, and relax a little!
8. Create a Holiday Playlist
It has been proven that listening to music can reduce your stress level, lower blood pressure and heart rate. So kick your anxiety to the curb and crank up some traditional holiday music! Create your own holiday playlist or just turn on Pandora, while you enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or wrap a couple of gifts. I can promise you that you will feel happier and cheery after absorbing some holiday spirit.
9. Be a Unitasker
I think that I can speak for all with confidence when I say that multitasking has been one skill we all managed to get a hang of this whole year. However the holiday season is not about being productive, it about enjoying the moment and spoiling yourself with a little bit of relaxation. Therefore instead of juggling everything at once, I think you can afford to spend this holiday season by doing one thing at a time!
10. Enjoy the Snow
Let’s admit that we are still all kids at heart. So instead of just watching your kids playing in the snow, join in on the fun! Build a snowman, go skiing, or snowboarding, let yourself loose while you still can.
11. Get Quality Time with the Family
Spending time with the family is really hard and almost impossible. Everyone has his or her own responsibilities and your off days usually don’t match up. This why is this holiday season should be all about reconnecting with family. So forget about responsibilities just for once, put all of your electronics away and enjoy some quality family time.
12. Sleep in Once in a While
The beauty of having a holiday break is that now you have the ability to finally fix your out-of-control sleeping schedule! So instead of staying up all night, go to sleep early and wake up early. You will be surprised by how much time you will help on your hands even when you sleep in! Say goodbye to those dark circles and hello to the energized new you!
13. Get in Some Exercise
No matter how repetitive this may be, I just have to include exercise as one of the best de-stressors on this list. Now that you have time for yourself, you can actually let go of the pressure and let the endorphins kick in! Exercise will not only get you in a better shape and make you feel good about yourself, but it will dramatically lower your stress levels! You will notice a great difference of your state of mind when you exercise and when you dont.
14. Organize Something
As crazy as it sounds, when you feel like your life is out of control and you are a mess the best way to unload your stress is by organizing your closet or cleaning your house. An organized home can make you feel like you have control over your life again! So take control over your environment first before you can take de-stress yourself.
15. Get into the Holiday Spirit
The best way to let go of the stress is to forget about it. For that to happen, all you have to do is get yourself into the holiday spirit. Decorate your house, watch a holiday show, go ice skating and just do something that screams out ‘Christmas’ or ‘New Year’. Trust me this magical holiday spirit works like a charm!
These are the ways I unwind during the stressful holiday season… I love the scent of hot tea and taking a bubble bath always seems to help! Which of these de-stressing tips do you think works best, or do you have another trick to share? Please let me know…
This article was written in collaboration with editor Vladlena Lee.