Why do we allow ourselves to stress over the holidays?
I would love to enter the holiday season with joy and contentment and arrive on January 1st smiling at all the beauty of the season.
Yet, we miss so much of the beauty and joy due to stress overload.
How do you handle the holiday season?
Everyone handles stress differently. You may respond with emotional eating or not eating, becoming anxious, irritable, withdrawn, or angry. None of these responses are healthy for you or your loved ones.
Our expectations are high at the beginning of November and then by the middle of December we’re dreaming of a tropical island all to ourselves.
We were discussing this topic last week in our group Bible study and decided we’ve set ourselves up for failure by watching too many picture-perfect holiday movies. The perfect family, the perfect decorations, the perfect food, and the outstanding lovely perfect home.
Look around, there is absolutely nothing perfect in our lives. In fact, I have the perfect answer to this:
The pressure of finding gifts, rushing around in the hustle and bustle to visit everyone, having people visit you, getting to see relatives you miss and even having to deal with those that aren’t always a joy to be around; does not create a perfect stress-free season.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to the point that this season really can be enjoyable and heart-warming, even with the stress involved. Walking into this time of year with a great mindset and some helpful reminders gets me through every year… and I’d love to share my tips on how I do this with you.
For a stress-free holiday season, I try to...
Remember perfect doesn’t really exist
Your cookies turned out like blobs. Your lights aren’t lighting up. Your kids just made a mess of your clean house moments before the guests are arriving. Surrender your vision of what perfect is and just let it go. The only thing the people in your life care about is being with you.
Don’t feel bad about saying “No”
You can’t do it all. There’s no reason you need to go to every party and event from now through New Year’s. Decide which ones are most important to attend and politely decline the others. Spreading yourself too thin isn’t good for anyone, and it makes the time fly by faster, also. You’ll enjoy the holiday months better if they don’t whiz by in a blink.
Stay away from crash diets
We’ve talked about reasonable ways to handle healthy eating during the holidays before. Please don’t decide to starve yourself to compensate for the extra calories you had or are going to have at that holiday party. If you do slip up, forgive yourself and make a point to be more mindful. Don’t punish yourself for any mistakes. Just move forward with better decisions, no punishment involved.
Know that asking for help is okay
Let me repeat: you can’t do it all.
Let family and friends help when they offer. This is was a big step for me. They can bring a dish, grab something from the store on their way, or help with the dishes. If you have to go to someone’s party and don’t have the time to make something, grab something pre-made from the store. There comes a time when we all need help and learning how to accept it will be incredibly beneficial for your sanity.
Fit in time for yourself
Women, in particular, spend less than 30 minutes a day on themselves. Go for a run, get a limited-edition special-roasted coffee at the corner café and sit there in peace, read a book, take a bath, or make time with your best friend to just have one-on-one time without your kids tagging along. You’ll feel full again, which renews your mind and spirit like nothing else. We can’t give from an empty cup, as the saying goes.
Remember, the holidays are about joy. Find yours within, and you’ll be able to spread more of it around.
What makes you feel most joyful?
One thing that fills me up during the holiday season and my way of spreading joy is to truly enjoy the moment I’m in. Slowing down to really see my family and to love the time with them. Looking at the beauty around me and not always finding fault with myself or in others.
Here’s a free resource to help you navigate the holiday season
Comment below or join our members Facebook Group: Healthy Living for Life and share how you go through the holiday season with less stress.
Enjoy a cup of Stress-Free Hot Chocolate
Combine the following in a mug:
1 TB raw cacao powder
1/16 tsp sea salt (brings out the flavor of the cacao)
¼ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
Pour hot water over the top, and whisk until frothy. Add a little honey to sweeten, if desired. Mix in 1-2 TB full-fat coconut milk and enjoy!