Sure the holidays are the happiest time of the year, but 80% of Americans also report that they are stressed out around the holidays. Follow About.com’s tips for dealing with the stress of overspending, overeating, drinking too much, doing too much, and spending times with relatives that cause us to be unhappy.
If you feel like you absolutely have to do everything you do each year: baking, sending Christmas cards, going to parties, visiting with family, shopping, etc, find shortcuts to get it all done. Only send cards to the people closest in your life, or just send pre-printed cards rather than writing a note to everyone. If you love to give baked goods, buy them at the bakery rather than engaging in an all-day baking session.
Think ahead about holiday meals and make sure you have something healthy at every gathering, even if you have to volunteer to bring it yourself. Know what makes you overindulge and visualize ahead of time on how you will resist temptation.
Change what constitutes family togetherness. How long can you stand with your family before you start snipping at each other and plan for a shorter trip or some alone time before the grumpiness starts. If there are relatives you know will not respect you, set limits by either not visiting them or minimizing the visits to every other year.
If loneliness is your issue during the holidays, invite a group of friends over for a gathering, or if you can’t find anyone who isn’t with family, volunteer for the less fortunate. It will make you focus on how lucky you are rather than the fact that you don’t have family to spend the holidays with.
Make a calendar that shows exactly how much time each of your commitments will take. Seeing the time plotted out will show you if your schedule is completely unrealistic. Prioritize and allow yourself to say no to the commitments that aren’t as important to you. Also, make sure you have time each day to get outside and take a walk or at least sit by the window and take in some sunlight to prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Take time to focus on your breathing, even if it’s as simple as breathing in for four counts, holding your breath for four counts, and then breathing out for four counts. It can really calm your stress! If you have a little more time, yoga can be a wonderful practice to making you focus on yourself and kick stress to the curb.