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14 Easy Things You Can Do to Minimize Holiday Stress

Meditate

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While the holiday season can be the most wonderful time of the year, it isn't free of pressure and expectation. Start your days by taking a few minutes to restore your strength (both mental and physical) through this simple meditation technique. If you're new to meditation, these five tips will help you get started.

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Get a Good Night's Sleep

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Time is of the essence during this time of year, and the first thing to go is usually a good night's rest. While letting up on a couple hours of sleep might not seem like a big deal, it can increase your chances of getting sick, cause unhealthy food cravings and take a toll on your energy levels, which is why it's important to give your body a chance to recharge on those go-go-go holiday marathon days.

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Set Aside Some "Me-Time"

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If you feel like your days are planned to the minute, remember it's okay to cancel some events and activities. This will free up some time to focus on yourself and help keep your mental and physical health in check.

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Exercise

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Endorphins will be your best friends during the stressful holiday season, so make sure you're getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity into your schedule. It might help to do your workout in the mornings. That way no matter how crazy or busy your day gets, you've already done something good for your health.

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Stretch

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Being active and inactive during the holiday season can lead to muscle tension and tightness, especially in your neck, back, chest, hips, and hamstrings. Make it a point to loosen up your body and stretch throughout the day. Here are 6 moves that nix everyday tensions.

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Be Grateful

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Take a few minutes here and there to count your blessings and celebrate all the things you're grateful for this year. Whether it's your own accomplishments or your family and friends, directing your attention toward gratitude is scientifically proven to make you feel healthier, more energetic, and less anxious. Need a place to start? Try practicing these three simple actions.

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Be Forgiving

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Sometimes saying "I'm sorry" just doesn't cut it, and we end up holding on to bitter feelings for longer than we'd like. It's easier said than done, we know, but remember that letting go of grudges won't only heal other hearts, but will mend yours in the process as well. Find out how you can truly forgive someone and move on.

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Eat Well

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No one wants to give up traditional holiday food. And we're here to tell you, you don't have to. What you can do is make sure that in addition to enjoying your holiday faves, you're also nourishing your body with good-for-you food that will energize you.

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Remember That "No" is a Full Sentence

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This is where planning ahead comes in handy. By giving specific events and functions a designated time frame, you will have the opportunity to be mentally prepared without getting overwhelmed. Create a sense of peace and joy by approaching things with calmness and saying no whenever needed.

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Minimize Expectations

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Don't set yourself up for failure by expecting things to go perfectly. The odds that you'll have the perfect family with the perfect tree while hosting the perfect parties with the perfect gifts are very low. Celebrate each moment as it comes and practice some self-love.

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Get Outside

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Nothing clears your mind better than a long deep breath of fresh air. Even if it's freezing out, if you feel your stress levels rising, take two minutes to bundle up, step outdoors, and refresh and recharge. You won't regret it.

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Live in The Moment

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There's no better time to practice some mindfulness than when you're stressed out and overwhelmed by all the things you have to do. Research has found that living in the moment and not worrying about the future can help lower your heart rate and blood pressure, reduces chronic pain, and improves sleep. When you feel yourself getting stressed or sad, remind yourself that it's OK to acknowledge how you feel but try not to sweat the small stuff.

If you're dealing with a major change or loss, such as the death of a loved one or a recent divorce, and you feel depressed, lonely, isolated, or anxious, know that it's OK to take some time by yourself to process your feelings, but that there's nothing wrong with reaching out for help as well. Everybody grieves differently, and what works for others might not work for you. Find more tips on processing grief during the holidays here.

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Ask For Help

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Even if you feel like you have to do everything yourself, you don't. Reach out to family and friends and ask for help, whether that means asking guests to bring a dish to your Christmas party or asking for a few extra days to meet a deadline at work. Take some pressure off of yourself.

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Relax

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If you want to take a long bath or take a break to watch your favorite Netflix show, just do it. The holidays are supposed to be one of the most joyous times of the year, so do things that will make you feel positive, happy, and full of life and love.

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