8 Steps to Less Christmas Stress
DECEMBER 1, 2013
Christmas seems to come earlier and earlier every year. The shelves at the store are filled with all things bright and sparkly; there are enough holiday festivities, Pinterest projects, and shopping lists to keep you occupied for a lifetime; and through it all there seems to be a constant ticking of a giant clock, counting down the days to Christmas. It is the “most wonderful time of the year,” but it can also be very stressful, especially if you are already dealing with other health issues. We hope these suggestions will help you de-stress your Christmas!
- Plan. Planning takes time at first, but it saves a lot of time in the long run. Calendars, lists, charts, or other scheduling tools—can help you stay organized and calm. Plus, they can be easily shared with your helpers. As you write up your plan, prioritize the most important items and delete the rest! The more organized you are, and the less you have to do, the better.
- Simplify. American author Henry David Thoreau once penned, “Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.” Remember these words of wisdom as you plan, cook, decorate, shop, etc. Sometimes less really is more. A simplified Christmas will allow you to spend more time with loved ones, keep more money in the bank, and keep more hair on your head.
- Share the work. As you make your plans, consider sharing your tasks with others. Whether you send them to the store or invite them to help you make and decorate snowman-shaped cookies, sharing your to-do list with others can be a great way to lighten your load and spend quality time with loved ones.
- Eat well. Believe it or not, what you eat contributes to your stress levels. Caffeine, alcohol, sugar, spicy foods, and processed foods all actually increase stress levels, so it might be good to avoid those wherever possible. It would be better to incorporate foods with B vitamins, folic acid and other stress-reducing nutrients. Asparagus, beef, milk, blueberries, almonds, fish, oranges, and spinach are all good choices for reducing stress levels.
- Rest up. Getting enough sleep and rest are important for keeping stress levels at bay (and general health for that matter). Humans naturally get crankier when they don’t get enough sleep and/or rest. Resist the urge to stay up all night tying the perfect bows on your presents, or whatever else you might do. Scheduling breaks into your busy day schedule might be helpful, too!
- Reach out. Consider taking some time this Christmas season to serve at a local soup kitchen or shelter. Helping someone in need can warm your heart and help you appreciate what you have a little more.
- Give from the heart. As the saying goes, “it is better to give than to receive.” This is especially true when you give from the heart. The best gifts are those that are carefully thought out and given with love, and they may or may not come from the store. Before you go on a frantic shopping spree, you might take some extra time to carefully consider each person on your list and what they mean to you. This can make giving much more exciting than getting.
- Laugh. You can’t stay stressed very long when you’re laughing. If you start to feel stress building, take a break to do something fun. Turn on some music and dance with your family (or maybe just a broom if no one is around!), play a game, start a snowball fight—do something that will take your mind off your stresses and worries and help you relax. Laughter really is the best medicine when it comes to stress.
Stress can be a huge damper on holiday cheer. We hope these ideas will help you keep your stress under control so you can enjoy your holiday season to its fullest!