How to Manage Stress During the Holidays

The holidays are full of family, friends, parties, and giving, but the holidays can also be full of stress. Often trying to figure out what gifts to give to family members, what food to make for Christmas parties, navigating family get-togethers and spending  money on everything from food to presents can be a large source of anxiety and stress. All you want to do is relax during the holidays, yet you find yourself constantly on the go.

Although the holidays can be taxing, there are a few ways to keep yourself physically and mentally healthy and lower your stress level during the holiday season.

1. Continue your healthy eating habits - So often we get off track with our healthy habits because of holiday gatherings. It's easy to go overboard on the party snacks and food. Remember to not overindulge. You can certainly eat the things you want, but don't stuff yourself. You'll only regret it afterwards and stress more.

2. Lower Your Expectations - This is easier said than done, but so often we fill up our plate to the max with things to do - shopping, baking, cooking large meals, cleaning, attending parties, sending holiday cards. It's exhausting. You are your own worst critic. I promise you'll be the only one to notice if you bake one less dozen cookies this year or skip top dusting your house before you have company over. Lower your expectations and say "no" to at least one thing on your list. You'll thank yourself later. 

3. Spend Time With Family - We all know that family dynamics can be a source or stress during the holidays. But now is the time to focus on the positive and not the negative. The holidays are the perfect time to re-connect, mend differences, and spend quality time with each other. Opening up the lines of communication with family will leave you feeling less anxious and stressed come time for a get-together.

4. Ask For Help - Many times we, myself included, are too stubborn to ask for help. We want to show that we can do it all. But, more often than not, that leaves us feeling stressed and unable to enjoy the holidays. You might be surprised how willing your family and friends will be to help - if you just reach out and ask. This will take stress off of you and will likely make friends and family happy  knowing they're needed.

5. Focus On Relaxation - Try taking 15 minutes out for yourself during the day to practice meditation or yoga. Just those few minutes will leave you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed.

6. Take A Walk - Whether it's a walk, jog, run, or another physical activity you enjoy, try to get up and move even if you only have ten minutes. If the weather is warm enough, try to get outside.Spending time in the sun is a great way to boost your mood.

7. Enjoy Something You Love - During the holidays we often find ourselves focusing on others and doing things for family and friends. But, it's also important to take time for yourself, whether it's watching a holiday movie, or taking time to read a favorite book or do an activity you enjoy. Take the time for yourself, because when you are happy and less anxious so are the people around you.

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