Joy. Laughter. Love. These are the words so often associated with the holidays. But unfortunately for some, this idyllic view of the traditional November and December celebrations can be clouded with stress as lengthy to-do lists, thoughts of pleasing guests, and even financial struggles loom. To make the most of the holidays, here are a few ways to help limit stress.
Make time for yourself.
You might be the holiday super hero of your family — flying to and from everyone’s favorite stores to get the best gifts, preparing dinner feasts and making company feel welcome. But even superheroes need a little time to recharge.
For some, this can be accomplished with an hour of relaxation and reflection before family arrives. Take into account all that you have accomplished and the things you have to be thankful for. If you’re not the relaxing type, try taking a cycling class or doing yoga. A little sweat session might be just what the doctored ordered.
No matter the method, taking a little time for yourself is a great way to ensure that you’re the best version of you when company and chaos arrive at your doorstep.
Avoid over-planning, and don’t sweat the small stuff.
A bit of planning can ensure that holiday gatherings and gift-giving go over smoothly, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of your sanity. So when it comes to meal preparations and decorating, make a to-do list but try not to react negatively if things don’t go as planned.
Think about it this way: If your typical Monday night workout consists of a six-mile run but a work meeting made you cut it down to three, you’d probably be happy that you were still able to get in three good miles. So if the mashed potatoes are a bit lumpy or the merengue on the pie just isn’t as fluffy as it usually is, don’t sweat it. Chances are strong that your guests won’t even notice.
Focus on the big picture.
We all have that one family member who just can’t stop talking about politics (am I right?). But regardless of whether or not Auntie Miriam wants to build a wall, she’s still part of the family. So instead of taking the bait and getting into an argument, try to relax by focusing on the big picture — spending quality time with family. Take the time to play another card game or listen to familiar family stories, because in the grand scheme of things it’s way more important to spend time with loved ones than to fret over differences of opinion.