The holiday season. It’s a time of joy, rest, relaxation, and family. Wait, what? Although extra rest and relaxation during the holidays is an ideal scenario, it rarely seems to be reality. According the American Psychological Association, 69 percent of people feel stressed by a lack of time and money during the holidays. So what can you do to take back the joy of the season? For starters, take a breather. Then, read the simple tips below for a reminder on how to slow down and gain perspective during the upcoming busy season.
1. Take stock of time you spend online. While most people feel strapped for time during the stretch from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, many people don’t realize how much time they actually spend online. According to this infographic, Americans spend an average of 32 hours per month online, with 22 percent of that time spent on social networking sites. That’s nearly an entire workweek spent online! Whether connected via a traditional computer or a mobile device, intentionally taking time to disconnect frees time and space for other things. Or, with that extra time you could take a power nap and simply relax.
2. Lower your expectations. A major cause of stress and anger is blocked goals. And, during the holidays, blocked goals abound! From long shopping lines to family stress, when things don’t turn out the way you pictured them in your mind, it’s hard to enjoy the season. At the outset of the holidays, take time to realize that you can’t control everything. Some things will not go as planned. Lowering your expectations helps you live in the moment and appreciate what’s important this season.
|Feeling stressed this season? Don't. Instead, make a plan and relax.|
3. Volunteer. It’s long been documented that taking time to give back to others not only lowers stress, but it also makes you feel great about yourself. Making time to give back during the holidays takes your focus off of yourself, reminding you about what’s important. For a list of ideas for how to give back this season, click here.
4. Journal. In her Huffingtonpost.com article, Carolyn Ziel explains the stress relieving benefits of journaling. Rather than keeping all of your thoughts and emotions mind-bound, find release by getting them out on paper. Fitting with the theme of this time of year, Ziel also suggests starting a gratitude journal. Focusing on the things for which you are thankful helps boost your attitude. And, a positive, relaxed attitude almost always benefits those around you.
5. Plan for enough exercise and rest. Rather than planning holiday menus and finishing shopping at the last minute, plan ahead. Spending even 10 to 15 minutes prioritizing and planning when things will get done helps prevent you from skimping on sleep and exercise in a last-minute crunch to get everything done. Lack of rest and exercise tends to make everything feel harder. So plan wisely! For tips and ideas on how to plan ahead this holiday season, click here.
This holiday season, we hope that you choose to focus on the joy of the season, rather than on all of the to-do’s. Do you have any other helpful, stress-relief tips? If so, please share them in the comments box below. We wish you and your family a healthy, stress-free holiday season!