3 ways to cope with stress during the holiday season
It’s that time of year again where demands on our time are at an all-time high, we’re being stretched in a million directions, and the days don’t have enough hours to do everything. Plus, the impending doom of the holiday break is looming over us. It’s alot.
But don’t fear, we have three simple tricks for you to practice while your stress levels are high and you’re not sure what to do next.
1. Make self-care a priority
Understanding how important self-care is during stressful moments is the key to unlocking more enjoyable days. We know that the holiday season can be the perfect environment for those stressful moments, so we recommend finding what ‘self-care’ means for you, carving out some me-time into your daily routine and switching off from your busy lives. Here are a few ideas to get your started:
- relaxation techniques: from breathing exercises to stretching exercises, relaxation techniques can be as short or long as you need. By taking slow, steady breaths – 4 seconds in, 5 seconds out – you can take a short break from your day to take a deserved break. If you have a little longer, why not delve into a meditation session (can last from 10-15 minutes) or a yoga session (lasts around 20 minutes)?
- relaxing bath: candles, book, music, wine are all things we love in the bath. No matter what you love, taking time to soak in a warm, cosy bath will help you unwind from your busy days and feel the stress melt away.
- calming music: while you’re busy doing one of your many tasks of the day, why not put on a calming playlist to counterbalance the stress and give you a welcome distraction.
- cup of tea: it isn’t just the (herbal or decaf) tea itself that can soothe you, but the routine of making a cup of tea can offer you a moment of calm. Really concentrate on each action: pouring the hot water, the teabag colouring the water with mesmerising swirls, turning your teaspoon and removing the teabag. And then, of course, sipping the warm water and feeling it flow down your body.
- nature walks: nature can be a great healer. So, taking a short moment to go for a walk can do wonders to your stress levels. If you don’t have time for a walk every day, make sure your windows are open to let in fresh air and that you take a moment to look outside whenever you can.
- talk to friends and family: there’s a lot to be said for opening up to loved ones about how you feel. If you’re concerned about the pressure of going to social events, let your confidants know and they will be able to allay your stresses. Or if you’re worried about your mountain of things to do, try to ask for help; maybe someone can take something off your plate.
- sleep quality: it’s well-known that sleep and stress go hand in hand and that sleeping well is a key factor in calm and productive days. So, make sure you’re getting enough sleep every night (aim for 8 hours per night) by practicing good sleep hygiene and routines.
2. Organisation is king
When you’re looking up at the mountain of tasks at the start of December, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. But don’t fear; there are ways of getting through them and – to all dismay – actually enjoy the holiday season. Here are a few ideas:
- to do list: start off with a general list of the larger things you need to get done (gifts, parties, food), and break each point down into a smaller list (list who needs a gift and any ideas, what you need for the parties, what food you need to buy). This will give you a good basis to see your tasks at hand at a glance, and – as you work through – you can check off and see your progression.
- budget plan: although it can be uneasy looking at finances, it’s important to set yourself a realistic budget so that you don’t start the new year on a bad note. Once you have done your to do list, you will have a good idea of what you need to spend money on. You can now divide your money between these things in a realistic way. Make notes within your to do list so that you know where you’re at as you spend your money.
- delegate tasks: from knowing your tasks in your to-do list, you will know which ones you don’t need to do single-handedly. You could ask your other half or a close family member to find certain gifts and do the food shopping. Or you could ask the kids to prepare the party food with you. Just make sure that you don’t micro-manage the people who are helping you; you might end up spending just as much time doing this as you would have if you had done the task yourself!
- overcoming perfectionism: sometimes perfection shouldn’t be what you strive for. Sometimes, getting the job done is more than enough. And this is one of those times. During the holiday season, people are not looking for the imperfections; they are looking for a good time with friends and family. So, don’t worry about the picture-perfect décor at the party, put down the piping bag that you were about to use on your 30thdessert, and try to enjoy everything alongside the people you love.
3. Enjoy the friends and family time
Spending endless days and parties with friends and family can be – for want of a better word – stressful at times. There’s always someone who spills something, who drinks too much, who offends or is offended. But there’s no point in being stressed about it. As they say, “it is what it is”. And now is the moment to try to enjoy the moment. Here are a few ways how:
- Remember that laughter can solve a lot: when it’s hard to see the funny side of mishaps, life seems to get a lot darker. So, try with all your might to see it this holiday season. Confide in a friend or family member so that you can have a laugh with someone.
- Blue sky is always behind the clouds: no matter how tiring, stressful and calamity-filled your holiday season might be, remember that the moment will pass and –just like clouds that reveal blue sky – good times will happen.
- Count your lucky stars: after a very difficult year for everyone, 2020 is now drawing to an end. When you’re feeling stressed, try to list 1 or 2 things you feel lucky and grateful for.