I’m looking forward to celebrating my favorite holiday of the year this week; Thanksgiving. It’s a holiday full of family, great food and football. It also kicks off the holiday season, a busy time of year full of parties, house guests, baking, shopping and so much more. It’s easy to lose sight of the joy and meaning of the holiday season when all the celebrating becomes more like a burden instead.
I think this is why this time of year can also be the worst time of year for some. It can be lonely, stressful and too busy leaving us feeling tired, worn out, grumpy and stressed. I know because I’ve been there and I let the holidays pass me by without slowing down and taking part in the fun that can also be had this time of year.
I don’t want you to feel this way so as we approach the holidays, I’m sharing with you five ways to reduce holiday stress and actually enjoy this time of year.
Tip 1 For Reducing holiday stress
It all Starts with Setting Realistic Expectations
Our lives are “busy”. Between work, taking care of kids, cooking, shopping, extra curricular activities, church, work outs, etc. we have very little time left over to take on much more. That’s why the holidays add stress. We don’t have a lot of extra time to shop and wrap gifts, decorate, cook, bake, attend parties, host family, clean the house, keep up with the laundry, etc.
Be honest with yourself about the amount of time you have for holiday related activities. If you can remove anything from your plate, great but if not, be real about what you can actually take on without setting yourself up for failure.
tip 2 for reducing holiday stress
Check Yourself and Slow Down
It can be so easy to get caught up in all the hustle and bustle this time of year. All the stores selling all the things with huge sales. Running here and there, attending every party, hosting all the events.
Instead, commit to doing your holiday shopping online so you don’t have to run all over town to shop. Instead of hosting a big, fancy dinner for family that will be staying with you, consider going out to eat or ordering takeout. No one will care that you didn’t slave for days over the meal and you’ll actually get to enjoy yourself.
tip 3 for reducing holiday stress
Enjoy Time that’s All Yours
If you are tempted to remove your workouts from your to-do list every week during the holidays, DON’T! No matter what you do, make sure you take at least some time each week for yourself so that you can stay centered, clear your head and breathe. If that means your regular trip to the gym or your morning walk through your neighborhood, make sure you contineu to do it. You’ll thank yourself later.
tip 4 for reducing holiday stress
As a lover of style and decor blogs I tend to set unrealistic goals for how my home should be decorated, how my table should be set or the food that I’ll be serving. I forget that these images I see were created by people who do it for a living. It’s not always real life and I shouldn’t put such an unattainable image of perfection in my head.
My family and friends will only ever see or eat what I decorated or cooked, not what I didn’t do or decorate. I need to be willing to cut myself some slack and be OK with not living up to the perfect image in my head and you should do the same. Life isn’t perfect and that’s the beauty of it.
tip 5 for reducing holiday stress
When all the holiday celebrations become work and stop being fun, it’s time to stop and take a breath and think about what’s most important. The holidays should be enjoyed and full of those special traditions we all look forward to. When you reach a point where it’s no longer fun, it’s time to stop and let it go. Cherish the moments with your kids, your parents, your spouse or those that make your life good and enjoy it.
Two years ago I was so stressed and overworked that I feel like I missed the holidays. I know that those around me saw it too. I regretted it and that made me feel even worse. After that lost holiday season, I decided to make changes and be more intentional about how much I take on over the holidays and check in with myself regularly to make sure I’m staying realistic and doing only what makes me happy.
My sincerest hope for you this holiday season is a time of joy. I don’t want you to miss the holidays for feel so stressed you no longer enjoy it. I hope that by trying these simple steps and maybe trying a few of your own, you get through the holidays happy and healthy and full of new memories to cherish.
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