The holidays can be a treasured time for many, but sometimes the business and chaos associated with the holidays makes it feel more stressful than it should. Stress anytime of the year can have negative effects on your body because stress can release hormones in the body that impact metabolism.
Holiday stress can also make us lose focus of the reason we are celebrating and bring up depression or bitterness in some people.
Here are some simple ways to lower holiday stress that can be applied other times of the year too. See also: Foods that help with anxiety.
Forgive those who cause you stress
Sometimes holidays can stir up family stress or disappointment in particular. Whether it’s old hurts, grudges or wrong doings, letting go of these painful memories or disagreements can go a long way for lowering stress while getting together with family.
Forgiveness usually benefits the person forgiving someone the most, as you feel lighter and freer of the negative energy and thoughts.
Of course not all wrong doings are easy to forgive, but if family tensions are a major cause for holiday stress, think what you can practically do to forgive someone so you can be free of some negative, hurtful feelings.
Spend time doing something for others less fortunate
Getting the focus off ourselves does a lot for shifting perspective. Making time for those less fortunate is a good reminder of what is truly important in life. Instead of getting more gifts for those in your life who already have enough, spend time together volunteering at a local charity or non-profit. Not only will you save stress from holiday crowds and shopping, you are helping others who need it.
Don’t get caught up in the holiday materialism
Running around in the mix of stores, long lines and unpleasant crowds can add stress for anyone during the holidays. A very practical step for lowering stress is to resist getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. Keep the holidays for a time of focusing on spending time with people you love instead of trying to find a perfect gift.
Let go of the “perfect” ideal holiday
Having a perfectly decorated home or perfectly planned holiday event can add a lot of extra stress. Shift the focus off of having a perfect holiday season, whatever that looks like for you, and shift your time and energy on the people and priorities that are what the holidays are meant for.
If your home does not look like a Pinterest look alike or the holiday spread isn’t all that you wanted, the people close to you won’t care. Only you will be upset and cause extra stress for yourself.
Count what you’re thankful for
If this time of year brings up stressful thoughts of what you don’t have or wish you could have, shift your focus to what you are thankful for. Focus on your blessings not on what you don’t have. Literally make a list through the holiday season of what you are thankful for and watch how it shifts your mood.
Focus on quality time with loved ones instead of gifts
Staying out of the holiday materialism and avoiding the idea of the perfect holiday event can save easily added stress during the holidays. If you are accustomed to giving gifts in the holiday season, another easy stress saver is to try shifting the focus from finding the best gift for someone to spending quality time with people instead.
For example, instead of giving a gift, take someone out to dinner or do an activity with someone that you know they enjoy. It can even be a few months out so you don’t feel like you are adding extra stress of trying to squeeze something in this time of year.
Remember what you’re celebrating
Whether it’s for religious reasons or just to remember the important things in life, truly remember the reason for the season. Chances are you have a lot in your life that you should be thankful for and appreciate what you have.
The holiday season was not intended to be stress inducing; in fact they are supposed to do the exact opposite. Remember that if you feel yourself getting stressed out over seemingly small details and shift your perspective.
Stress during the holidays can mask the importance and beauty of the holiday season. Cutting out unnecessary pressure, wasted time and resources can be done in some practical steps. Forgiving family members who cause you stress can be very beneficial and feel like mental stress is taken off.
Letting go of a perfect ideal during the holiday season, whether it’s getting someone the best gift, having a perfectly decorated house or hosting a perfect holiday party can lower a lot of unnecessary stress.
Focus during this season what you are thankful for by writing down what you are thankful for throughout the holiday season and giving back to others less fortunate than you are by volunteering at a local charity or non-profit.
Spending quality time with family and friends can be very relaxing without having the added stress of trying to figure out what to get them as a gift.