How to Deal with the Holiday Stress: 4 Simple Tips

how to deal with the holiday stress
how to deal with holiday stress
Photo from: BusinessWest

The holiday season is in full effect, and with that, the stress is quickly rising. There is still so much to do with so little time remaining. 

Over the last few weeks, I have really felt the effects of the holiday stress. I have some family that is coming into town so I have to make sure that the house is organized. I have to make sure that extra beds are set up and the sheets are clean. And I have to make sure that the fridge isn’t completely bare. 

Oh, and just to top it off, I still have to start Christmas shopping.

Yep, only a few days until Christmas and I have only managed to buy a total of four gifts so far. I guess you can say it’s a good thing that it was recently payday. 

The holidays aren’t supposed to be a time of stress though. The holidays are supposed to be a time of relaxation while cherishing the time that you get to spend with those who you love the most. 

So to help all of us get back to focusing on what the holiday season is truly about, I would like to share 5 powerful and timeless tips that can help you to make the holidays a more joyful and peaceful time. Who knows, maybe you can even use these tips heading into the new year to make 2020 better as well. 

1. Slow down and appreciate the moment.

First of all, slow down. Take a few moments to yourself and breathe. Slow down your body, slow down your breath, and slow down your mind.

See, I am so excited to see my family again that I have been rushing around at a million miles per hour. My breathing has shortened, my chest has tightened, and my mind has been racing. 

But when we put ourselves in these stressful situations, how we can enjoy what’s around us? How can we enjoy time with our family if we are never truly present? How can we spread holiday cheer when we are too stressed to find cheer in our own life? How can we soak in the relaxation when our minds are elsewhere? We can’t.

The holiday season is all about spending time with those who you love the most. Don’t lose sight of that just because you think you need to overdo it. Slow down and really take the time to soak it all in.

By slowing down, by being here now, and by focusing on one thing at a time, you will feel more relaxed and less stressed. All while being able to enjoy the holidays more. 

2. Focus on what’s most meaningful.

This piggybacks off of the last point, but let me share my thoughts with you for a moment. 

My parents are supposed to fly in to spend the holidays with my sisters and me. When they come in, we are supposed to go to a holiday party. 

Immediately, my mind tries to think of an excuse to come up with so that I can go out and work instead. When it comes to money, I hate losing it. Every time that I have to buy a lot of gifts at once, I immediately think of ways to recoup that money. 

But I realized something. Here my parents were flying in for a week to spend the holidays with us. I don’t know when I will get to see them next, and instead of spending as much time as I can with them, I have been allowing my fear of losing money to consume my thoughts. It made me question my priorities. Would I rather spend time with my family? Or would I rather go out just to make a few extra bucks? Needless to say, I am going to choose my family. 

The point is, focus on what’s more meaningful. Is it worth it to constantly stress yourself out to the point where you can’t enjoy the time spent with loved ones? Or is it more meaningful to say forget about everything else and be present in the time that you have with those loved ones? 

That’s a question that only you can answer, but I hope you choose wisely. 

3. Smile and appreciate all of the little things. 

The holidays only come once a year. Don’t let your stress ruin the holiday season for you. Allow yourself to relax, allow yourself to spend time with family, and allow yourself to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year. 

I will admit that when I get stressed, I become a miserable person to be around. My mood becomes more negative, I become less talkative and energetic, and always find myself focusing on the worst-case scenario in all situations. 

That’s not what the holiday season is about. Deal with the holiday stress by putting a smile on your face. Not only does smiling scientifically help to improve your mood, but it also makes it easier to focus on the “little things” in life.

Oddly enough, the little things are the things that comprise our lives – the things that we often take for granted such as:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Health
  • Shelter
  • Love

These little things aren’t so little, are they? So enjoy them. For as much time as you can, make the “little things” the things that you are the most appreciative of.

4. Spread joy to the lives of others. 

One easy way to deal with the holiday stress – or to just deal with stress in general – is to spread joy to the lives of others. There are very few feelings quite as powerful as the feeling you get when you put a smile on somebody else’s face. Just knowing that you brightened their day can make all the difference. 

It might sound cliche, but please trust me on this one. Go out of your way today to do something nice for somebody else and recognize how you feel. It doesn’t have to be anything too big either. Hold the door open for a stranger. Pick up the coffee for the person behind you. Smile at the next person you see. 

It doesn’t need to be anything drastic if you don’t want it to be. Just do something that will put a smile on somebody else’s face and recognize how it impacts your mood as well. 

Final Thoughts

Regardless of what you do, don’t forget what’s most important to you this holiday season. The holiday season is a time to reflect on all that you are blessed with in life, a time to spend with the ones you love the most, and a time to act out of kindness instead of greed. Make the most of the time that you have with the people you love the most and simply enjoy yourself.

Michael Bonnell

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