It’s a season of celebration, but the holidays can conjure more negativity than expected. From worrying about various expenses to holiday parties, the weeks prior can be quite overwhelming. It seems avoiding the anxiety comes close to impossible, but finding a healthy balance is attainable. Instead of suppressing or ignoring emotions, let me introduce you to a method that comforts and corrects my own holiday insanity – some stress relievers for the holidays that can alter your mood and restore inner tranquility – peace.
Plan & Prepare
Planning for the holidays is the first step you need to take to keep your stress levels in check. Without a plan, you can lose control. Although plans change, having a tentative outline for what needs to be completed before holidays descend is necessary. It is essential to managing stress, and imperative that you remain practical when devising a plan.
A practical approach to relieving stress would be making a list of what is needed and what has to be completed before you begin. Take into consideration what disasters occurred last year and make your “to do” list as a means to avoid those potential stress enablers. The following questions will help as you start to organize for the holidays:
- What’s the holiday shopping budget?
- How many gifts do I need to purchase?
- What kind of Christmas decorations should I put up?
- How many people are here for holiday dinner; what recipes should I use?
Again, these are only a few questions to help prompt you as you plan for the season. Your list can be as detailed or as vague as you desire. Stay focused as you tailor a plan to suit your needs. As tedious as it may seem, you will thank yourself later.
Examine and Execute
Now that you’ve compiled your holiday to-do list, remember to be methodical and realistic to determine what can be completed. To relieve initial stress, execute tasks that can be addressed right now. If you set aside money to create your holiday shopping budget, then crossing off a few names from your “gift list” early is wise. If you’re aware of any sales, early shopping will reduce your stress. You will not be bombarded or feel obligated to stand in long checkout lines – you avoid feeling ornery and annoyed from the get-go.
As for the Christmas decorations and preparing your home for holiday festivities, you’re set. You were organized and meticulous when creating your list. You tackled the tasks that were able to be completed ahead of time.
Anticipate and Acknowledge
Feeling accomplished is only part of fulfilling your inner tranquility. Take a moment to acknowledge how you’re feeling. Although it is unfortunate that your challenge to remain this serene is limited, the holiday season still looms in the distance. To overcome this, try anticipating possible chaos that may be unleashed before the holiday arrives. Make lists of possible situations that could destroy your executions of planning ahead. Anticipating for the worst lets you prepare for scenarios, which helps with expectations. You’re prepared by configuring a back-up plan.
A good stress reliever is to take some time for you. Acknowledge all the hard work you’ve accomplished and give you time to debrief and regroup.
Consult and Celebrate
With only a few weeks until Christmas, it’s important that you revisit your list. Make sure you’ve completed the daunting tasks. Consulting with others can lessen your stress as they may remind you what still needs to be done. Reexamine the list to conclude holiday dinner arrangements. If you’re worried about not having enough food, suggest hosting a pot-luck supper. Consult with your guests to clarify who brings what. This can eliminate some potential anxiety and stress. You finally feel ready to celebrate.
To relieve some of that lingering holiday stress, go out and celebrate. Attend your office Christmas party, make yourself a holiday inspired cocktail, or do whatever you deem necessary in order to propel yourself into the holiday spirit.
You’ve done the prep work now! The approach, although tedious and somewhat stressful at times, works to minimize anxiety that foreshadows the holidays. So as you sit here analyzing the pros and cons of this holiday approach, it is undeniable that the end result will allow you to fully embrace what the holiday season really means.
The reasons you were stressed before could be attributed to wanting the holiday season to be the best one yet. And this season will be different from previous ones because you’ll be able to fully enjoy your down time without stress. Rid your worries and approach this season stress free: you have finally arrived at your intended destination – let there be peace!
Caroline Casetti is a new homeowner and an aspiring artist with experience in freelance writing and humanitarian work. She typically writes about community involvement and home improvement, but has taken the time to provide a few tips on planning ahead and relieving stress for the holidays.