10 Tips to Celebrate More and Stress Less This Holiday Season

58No other time of the year brings as much excitement and anticipation as the month of December. Holiday decorations are out in full display, the Christmas tree lights are lit, the malls are brimming with people, and the city comes alive with festivities.

Indeed, it is the most wonderful time of year but also a time of major stress. Enjoy the spirit of the season by changing the way you approach stress-inducing situations.

Set Priorities, but be Flexible. When life gets hectic, it’s important to plan ahead and decide how to best use your time. If you keep a schedule of important activities, you’re less likely to feel pressured when something else gets thrown into the mix. Be willing to say no if things get too crazy. Remember, you are far more likely to enjoy a holiday party if you aren’t trying to go to one every night for a week.

Keep it Simple. If you are hosting a big holiday party and the in-laws never seem to be pleased with some aspect of it, this can be a real challenge. Instead of allowing these feelings to drain you, fill your mind with peace and inhale and exhale slowly.

Be Real. Don’t lose track of the difference between the real and the ideal. TV specials, movies, holiday music, and even our own childhood memories can be sources of comfort, but they aren’t reality. Try to appreciate the imperfections in life, and celebrate for what the holidays mean to you.

Delegate and Let Go. Expect the kids to help around the house. Trade babysitting chores with a friend, so you can go shopping alone. Turn the big holiday meals into potlucks, so all the weight isn’t resting on one person’s shoulders.

Celebrate Small Things. Enjoy the process of the holidays, not just the big events. Go for a drive to look at the lights. Get the family together to pick out the tree, and then all go out for coffee afterwards.

Keep Up with Routine. During hectic times, changing established habits could make life even more stressful—especially if you have small children.

Don’t Overindulge. Over-eating, drinking excessively, or spending beyond your means can all contribute to more stress. Celebrate moderation.

Exercise. If you have an exercise routine, maintain it. If you are thinking of starting one, don’t wait until after the holidays. If left unchecked, stress can impact your health and increase the risk of anxiety, depression, heart attacks, chronic pain, and skin conditions.

Celebrate Alone Time. Take a hot bath, meditate, go for a walk with your dog, enjoy a short nap before a busy evening. Unplug from the rest of the world for an hour a day and you will feel that much better when you’re back out in it.

Kindness and Generosity. Enjoy the good feelings that come from helping others. This doesn’t have to be another commitment in your already-too-busy life. Take an hour off to donate blood. It can even be as simple as letting someone go ahead of you in line at the store. Be generous in traffic (or the parking lot) as well.

No matter how you feel about the holidays – whether you’re more like Martha Stewart or Ebenezer Scrooge, chances are good that the holidays are going to raise your stress levels. But with a little advanced planning preparation or even help from a personal concierge, you will be able to celebrate and embrace the spirit of the holidays more.

Image credit:  Herman Chan