For some (probably more than would admit), this is the day fall is over and the holiday season ensues. Pumpkins are tossed, trees go up, and Christmas music plays. Okay, maybe November 1st is a bit eager, but this is definitely true the day after Thanksgiving.
Yet, research suggests engulfing yourself in the holiday season too early is likely to cause feelings of stress and anxiety. Are we surprised? This day in age, November and December are plagued with feelings of financial, physical and emotional strain. That’s because society puts so much pressure on us to cook the best meals, host the best parties, and buy the best gifts. In our striving to please our families and friends, we miss the whole point of the season.
To ensure the most wonderful time of the year doesn’t pass you by in the blink of an eye (and you would even use the word “wonderful” to describe it), here are five tips to enjoying the holiday season stress-free:
Throughout the next couple of months, find moments to be still. When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, take a deep breath. Deep breathing is known to combat the detrimental effects of stress and anxiety by lowering blood pressure and slowing your heart rate.
Take a Sabbath
Historically, taking a Sabbath means observing a day of rest from work. During the craziness of the holiday season, taking a Sabbath may not be a bad idea. As humans, we have limits. We were designed to rest. In fact, one day of rest a week may just be what we need to stay sane through December 31st.
Here’s the cool part. You have full authority to define what your Sabbath looks like. It doesn’t have to be on the weekend; it doesn’t even have to be a full day. The key here is to pick your Sabbath, whether it’s Wednesday afternoon or all day Sunday, define it, and finally, protect it.
Perhaps your Sabbath is taking a break from shopping (online or in-store). Maybe you unplug for a couple hours all together. Decide what your Sabbath looks like, and then prioritize that time above all else when the day comes.
Sleep is vital all year long, but especially around the holidays. Considering your sleep is most likely suffer during the last couple months of the year, it’s important you protect it.
After all, sleep only amplifies stress. So the more hours of shut-eye you miss, the more likely you are to fuss over the family holiday card, burn the Christmas cookies, and ultimately, get coal from Santa. All this to say, you’ll want to prioritize sleep if you’d like to enjoy the holiday season and make it to the New Year without pulling of of your hair out.
Not to mention, giving the gift of sleep is totally underrated. What most people wouldn’t do to get better sleep. Whether that means gifting cozy pajamas or actually purchasing a new mattress, we often underestimate just how valuable a good night of sleep can be for our physical, mental and emotional health. My advice to you—don’t only prioritize sleep this season, consider gifting it to others.
P.S. Did you know mattresses now come compressed and rolled in a box? AMAZING. Who would have thought you could actually wrap a mattress?!
Say “yes” to saying “no”
Ceaseless invitations flood your mailbox. How many Christmas parties, bonfires, and dinners can one get invited too?
Around this time of year, the pressure to say “yes” to social events, familial obligations, and those once a year bargains is greater than ever. In fact, some of us feel enslaved to the word “yes” as if uttering the words “no, thank you” would mean we’d never be spoken to again.
Here’s the thing. It is okay to say no. Actually, it is healthy to say no. Don’t bring unnecessary stress upon yourself. When a decision presents itself ask yourself these three questions:
- Do I have physical capacity to take this on?
- Do I have the emotional capacity to take this on?
- Do I have the financial capacity to take this on?
If the answer is no to ANY of these questions, you’ve got your decision.
Remember the reason we celebrate
Sometimes we become such a frenzied mess during the holidays, we blink and they are over. We miss the whole thing. Even worse, we miss the whole point.
Regardless of whether you are religious, remember what this season is for—celebrating family, friends, and all of life’s blessings! Don’t let it pass by in hectic blur, but remember to stop and appreciate the reason why you are doing the activities you are doing—hosting meals to commune with the ones you love, giving gifts to family to express your love in a tangible way, and reflecting on just how blessed we are.
Image from here.