The holidays can be a really fun and festive time of year. With holiday parties, family gatherings, and, ahem, spending lots of money, it can also be a very stressful time of year. When your calendar fills up and you’re standing in a seemingly endless checkout line, it’s important to take a step back and remember what the holidays are all about. The holidays can mean something different for everyone. For some, it’s a time to devote to religious beliefs, for others it can be spending time with family, and for many it’s combination of these things and others. Whatever the holidays mean to you, I have some tips to battle the stress that can pop up quicker than the time it takes Santa to down a whole plate of cookies.
1. Go for a walk (or run!)
Spending time outdoors, even in the cold, can really help clear your head. Bonus: this time a year, negihborhoods are extra bright with Christmas lights. Just a quick walk around the block will give you time to clear your head. Take some deep breaths (ah fresh air!) before heading back inside. If you feeling extra stressed, go for a run! Let that endorphin release take you to a stress-free place.
Spending time helping others can really put you in a good place. During the holiday season, there are a lot of organizations that need man power. Whether it be cooking in a kitchen, moving toys to an event, or knitting for the homeless, there are sure to be opportunities in your area. A couple of weeks ago, I volunteered for the Girls on the Run 5K. I was able to combine my love of running with helping put on an event, that’s a win/ win for everyone! If you’re not sure where to volunteer, I would check the website of your local news station. This time of year, they usually have a list of organizations needing help. Below are a couple of other sites with volunteering opportunities:
3. Buying a gift for someone in need
If you find you don’t have time to volunteer, you can always play Santa for children and families in need. Some charities will give you a name and ideas of items to get for them, or some even have wish lists (like on Amazon), so that you can shop from the comfort of home if the thought of heading out to a store stresses you out (we’re trying to reduce stress, remember?). Toys for Tots has donation centers across the country where you can simply drop off an unwrapped toy. Knowing that you are helping to bring happiness to what may normally be a difficult time for someone is really rewarding.
4. Spending time alone
There’s a lot of emphasis this time of year to spend time with loved ones. This may just be the introvert in me, but sometimes spending so much time with people can be exhausting. Sometimes you need some alone time, and that is totally acceptable! Go get a manicure, go to the movies be yourself, or just opt to stay in when the rest of your family goes out and read a magazine while enjoying a nice glass of wine J
5. Do something that you used to do as a child
When I was younger, my mom and I would make mini cheesecakes to give out during the holidays. I would help smoosh the graham cracker crust into the cupcake liners and top the cheesecakes with kiwis and cherries when the cheesecakes were cooled. This was something that I looked forward to doing every year. Making those cheesecakes now brings me back to a simpler time! This also allows you to share one of your childhood traditions or memories with family members (or do it as some quality me time, see above).
No matter where your holidays take you, remember what it is about the season that makes it special. Make time for not only for friends and family but also for yourself. Time goes by quickly, try to enjoy every moment that you can!
What stress fighting tactics work for you?
Are you traveling anywhere for the holidays?