What if we told you there was a better way to balance trips to and from the mall, work parties, hosting dinner events, wrapping presents, managing weight for family photos and tackling everything else that comes with the holidays?
What if last-minute cleaning, rightsizing checkbooks and squeezing some time out of no time was a little more enjoyable?
Unfortunately, there's no magic bullet, but there are some tried and true habits that make a world of difference. And whether it's mid-December or Christmas in July, these practices are sure to conquer stress in any season.
Don't believe us? Try it.
1) Delegate - Everyone needs a helping hand when the going gets tough. Ask for some support from your partner, children, coworkers, etc. It's the season of giving and there's nothing wrong with divvying out tasks to keep you from drowning in to-dos.
2) Release - Go, go, go is a recipe for burnout. Be honest with yourself, your bandwidth and emotional temperature. Rather than compartmentalizing, schedule a daily release in the form of a quick cardio workout. Release pent-up frustration or anxiety in the gym, on the treadmill or on the bike. A little shot of endorphins and some loud music go a long way.
3) Take Out the Biggest Bully First - if a particular task or undertaking is causing the majority of your stress, knock that out first. Or at least make a dent in it. If you take out the bully, the rest of its little minions feel trivial.
4) Focus Your Breathing - Countless studies shine light on the negative effects of shallow breathing. And stressful situations like cluttered malls, new social settings and other holiday hurdles often subconsciously disrupt healthy breathing habits. Take a 5-minute break on your next walk to breathe with your stomach. In with the good, out with bad. It's simple and incredibly therapeutic.
5) Don't Commiserate - If you're making progress and gaining momentum, don't spend time gossiping or sharing your stresses with others. It snowballs quickly. Stay the course and celebrate all that you've accomplished.
6) Laugh It Off - Let's face it, it won't be all peachy all the time. That's why it's super important to laugh trivial hiccups right off.
7) Count Your Blessings - Whether you take some time first thing in the morning or last thing at night, a dedicated time of simple reflection on the areas of your life that you're most grateful for is a tremendous deterrent to lingering stress. Remember to appreciate the people, circumstances, and things that are special in your life and stress tends to slip away.
8) An Object In Motion Stays In Motion - You know the saying. Rather than procrastinate or binge-accomplish tasks, try to pick a manageable cadence and rinse and repeat. Spread your duties and responsibilities out as best you can so there's ample time for work and play every day.
9) Remember the Why - Don't lose sight of the payoff. Yes, all the little one-off to-dos can drive you up a wall, but maybe the endgame is an unforgettable dinner with your family, a vacation with friends or the gift of a lifetime. When you look past the immediate task and remember the reason behind it, you'll often find new sources of inspiration.
Here's to a cheerful holiday season that marks the start of something new. You deserve health, wellness and reprieve this time of year, so give yourself the gift of destressing and try out some of these handy tricks.
We know you can handle it!