Stress is about more than just feeling frazzled and fatigued. It can detrimentally impact your overall physical and mental health and well-being. These tips will help you reduce stress during the holidays. That way you can truly enjoy the spirit of the season.
And read about self-care rituals that won't break the bank.
Just say no.
The holidays can make you feel pressured to do it all. But if spending time with your Uncle Harry drives you crazy or your kids run wild at late-night soirees, decline an invitation. Yes, some functions you must attend. But, it's OK to politely RSVP "no" to those that you aren't so interested in. Try to attend those gatherings that will mean the most to you and your family.
Do something non-holiday related for 30 minutes a day.
It could be a walk in the park, a manicure, a massage—whatever lifts your spirits. If you can't leave home, go to an empty room in your house. Turn on soothing music and do some stretches.
Hit the hay.
Wrap the gifts tomorrow night as you're watching This Is Us. Shop online as you sit in the school pickup line. Address holiday cards while you're sitting at basketball practice. Just don't stay up past your bedtime. Not getting enough shut-eye will only make you cranky and less sharp, which will lead to more stress. And that doesn't make anybody merry and bright.
Ditch your inner Martha Stewart.
Every meal doesn't have to be worthy of a magazine photo shoot. You can make your kids' favorite holiday entrée from scratch, but use store-bought sides and desserts. If you're hosting a party, make it a potluck so you don't have to prepare so much. Remember that Martha had a whole team helping her create that Instagrammable spread.
Be easy on yourself.
No judgment will be given for sticking to the tried and true. That means it isn't the time of year to test that dessert you found online, only to discover it doesn't quite look like its Pinterest picture. (Save that for a January snow day!) Instead, make the pie you can whip up—with its premade crust—without even looking at the recipe.
Relax in a bubble bath.
Light a few candles, grab a good book and play some soothing tunes on your phone. You'll soak away your troubles and warm up on a cold winter's day, too.
Maintain your daily ritual.
School concert on Tuesday and office holiday party on Friday. Yes, your schedule may be more chaotic this time of year. However, stick to your routines. Don't give up that half hour of reading before bed that you love just so you can wrap a gift or bake a dozen cookies. Everyday routines are soothing and calming, making it crucial to continue them. Plus, research has found that following a routine leads to less stress, a stronger immune system and better sleep patterns.
Light it up.
Take that candle out of the closet and light it. Research has found that scents like lemon, lavender and jasmine can help get rid of stress. But light anything that makes you feel happy and calms you, whether that's a classic vanilla candle or one with a holiday aroma.