It's the most wonderful time of the year, or so they say. The holidays bring a lot of cheer, but they can also result in tremendous stress. The constant hustle and bustle can get a bit exhausting if you're unprepared, and while it is only a few months out of every year, the time can not go fast enough for some.
However, holidays should be enjoyable, and there is no reason they can't be still, especially if you learn to de-stress and embrace some straightforward changes. While some look at the holiday season as the season of obligations, others view it as a time to share, love, and reflect. Learning to de-stress is about changing your mindset and realizing you still have control.
Embrace the Power of "No"
There is this idea that saying "no" around the holidays is unconscionable, that somehow declining a party invitation will find you disowned by your family and friends, forever alone for the holidays yet to come. The imaginings of a lonely future typically result in people saying yes to any and every invite, leaving little room for self-care and reflection.
You should go to gatherings that you want to, and you should feel free to participate in traditions you enjoy. However, you also need to make sure that you leave room in your schedule to celebrate yourself.
Embracing "no" allows you to set aside time for self-improvement and empowerment, to focus on your health and sanity. You are allowed to say "no" to an invitation even without an excuse. You can say "no" simply because you need a break or want one.
Accept and Ask for Help
One of the joys of the holidays is inviting people over to visit and celebrate the season. The problem arises when an individual takes on the sole responsibility of providing entertainment, food, music, etc.
While you invited people, there is nothing wrong with asking for a bit of help. For instance, instead of taking on the burden of feeding 20 or 30 of your closest friends and family, consider throwing a potluck. Potlucks encourage participation and can help build community. Plus, a potluck will save you a load of money.
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Exercise and Meditate
The holidays are notorious for weight gain. People dive into celebrations, enjoying the sweets and possibly drinking a little too much. The problem with over celebrating is that people often forget to maintain their physical health, which can directly affect their mental health.
Physical activity encourages the production of endorphins, the feel-good hormones. Exercise also leads to more energy and a positive mood, which is crucial in the winter, especially with seasonal affective disorder.
Additionally, taking the time to meditate can positively influence mood and stress. Mindfulness is known to reduce the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. It can also provide necessary moments of quiet and reflection.
Learn To Laugh
It is easy to become overwhelmed and stressed out during the holidays, but it is necessary to find enjoyment. Try not to take the holidays too seriously and expect the failure or disruption of plans because life happens after all.
Just take everything with a grain of salt and take a few deep breaths. Remind yourself that stress will pass and that the true spirit of the holiday is celebration, family, and love.
The holiday season is a reminder to cherish all of the important things in life, but it is also a time to celebrate yourself and where you are on your journey. Embrace traditions, but remember to take time for yourself.
What is your favorite holiday tradition? Comment below.