It’s supposed to be “the hap-hap-happiest season of all.”
But despite the twinkle lights and goofy sweaters, the holidays can be a minefield of hidden stressors.
The pressure keep the peace -like when your niece decides to critique border control as she passes the potatoes to conservative aunt Irma-can be enough to make anyone question their mental health status.
Not to mention the expectation of getting just the right gift for just the right person.
And with one celebration after another it can feel like the only rest you get is between your food coma and the mountain of dishes that nobody else seems inspired to do.
Willpower wears down in these situations.
Emotions run higher than the Empire State Building.
By the time New Year’s rolls around you’re so exhausted and depleted that you’re ready for a vacation.
And then you cry into your champagne when you realize that’s what all of this was supposed to be.
Believe it or not, the holidays can be “the most wonderful time of the year.”
Or at the very least one of the most wonderful times of the year.
And there are a few things you can do to take the edge off (and I’m not talking about Grandpa’s “cough syrup” or the latest overpriced CBD products.)
The first and best way to reduce holiday stress is to get out ahead of it.
Forget New Year’s resolutions, NOW is the best time to start healthy habits.
Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
If the pumpkin pie is WAY too good to just have one slice, go ahead and have two.
Instead of restricting yourself (which will only add more stress into your life and set you up for failure,) focus on adding in small habits to counterbalance the chaos that’s about to ensue.
Here are 3 simple stress-management strategies you want to start ASAP to cushion any holiday stress-punches that might be thrown your way:
1. Meditate Every Day
Meditation is sweeter than eggnog this time of year.
It’s like giving your mind a mini-vacation from the never-ending nagging stories that can crop up during the holidays.
It’s a chance to step back and just observe what’s happening so you can choose your responses instead of reacting impulsively.
You’ll feel better in the moment, and you’ll strengthen your ability to choose better-feeling thoughts in the future.
Start by promising yourself to focus on your breath for just one minute.
Do that every day, and once you’ve kept your promise to yourself for a while you can experiment with longer sessions.
Short meditations can be surprisingly powerful.
My sweet spot is somewhere between 10-20 minutes.
It’s more important to show up for your meditation every day than to sit for a long time.
And the more you do it, the better it gets.
2. Load Up On Veggies
This one’s really simple.
The more veggies you eat, the better you’ll feel in your body.
The better you feel in your body, the more control you have over your emotions.
And the more control you have over your emotions, the easier stressful situations become.
3. Use Herbs
Warming herbs like ginger, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, rosemary, and clove aren’t just delicious additions to your holiday food.
They also help to counteract the negative effects of cold, making your immune system more resilient so you’re less likely to get sick (there’s nothing more stressful than trying to get everything ready for a celebration when you have to blow your nose every 5 minutes).
Stronger, more targeted herbs can also be really helpful in keeping your stress-response in check.
Ashwaghandha, St. John’s Wort, and Chamomile are just a few examples of soothing herbs.
But it’s best to only use medicinal herbs under the guidance of a trained professional.
And now I’d love to hear from you!
What strategies do you use to keep yourself sane over the holidays?
Leave a comment and get the conversation started, because you never know who you might help by sharing your experience.