Shhh…I have a very, special gift for you- the secret to a stress-free holiday. Actually, I want to share this secret with everyone because I think we all need it. With all the hustle and bustle from the holidays, we have to spend sometime to just sit back and get back in tune with what’s really important- a calm, relaxed woman that can even deal with the holidays without breaking a sweat. Use the following tips to keep this a stress-free holiday season.
It’s time to find a way to get rid of all of that stress that comes with this season. We made it through Thanksgiving unscathed (I hope), and we’re in the home stretch, with just Christmas and New Years coming around the bin. Give yourself the best gift of all…relaxation.
Taking a moment to stop what you’re doing and just exhale. Do it purposefully and listen to the sound of the air leaving your mouth. This helps you to stop rapid breathing that is normally associated with anxiety or stressful situations.
Can you remember that time you were on the beach and how great you felt or perhaps your daughter’s first recital, or how good it felt when someone took your great advice. Reach back into that treasure chest of good thoughts and pull out one of those positive emotional gems and have your own personal party.
So you drop your favorite Christmas ornament and you almost shed a tear as you see it shattered on the floor in million pieces. You’re having a marathon chat-a-thon with your friend who has broken up with her boyfriend (again). You just found out you have to work on Christmas Eve. Dwelling on all of the things that go wrong or could go wrong will grow like a cancer. Negative friends and situations will also create a very stressed-out “you!” Don’t allow yourself to loiter in negativity or you will find yourself just as toxic as your thoughts, situations, and those nay-sayers.
With all of that extra rich, homemade cooking that surrounds us during the holidays, remember balance is the key. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables, will help you feel more energized and mentally strong enough to deal with the daily stressors.
Make every effort to exercise a litte everyday. A quick ten minutes of stretching and deep breathing is better than nothing at all. Try to get three good workouts each week to release the endorphins in your brain (30 minutes or more) and contribute to your overall heart healthy experience. If you hate the gym, find other activities like basketball, bowling, dancing, jazzercise or yoga where you can have fun, meet people, and exercise.
You probably spend a lot of time making sure that everyone is happy, but don’t forget about you. All work and no play leads to a very grouchy holiday season. Find time for your hobbies. Schedule it just like you would anything else. You’ve always been meaning to learn how to play the guitar or finishing crocheting that sweater you started back in 2010. Give yourself a chance to just do something that’s fun for you that relaxes your mind.
Laugh. You may say, how can I “plan” to laugh. If you think a joke is funny, don’t smirk, let out a chuckle. If you have a favorite comedian, you probably can watch their same routine and still giggle like you did the first time you heard it. The same holds true with a funny movie. Hey, I like Dumb and Dumber (don’t judge me). Don’t know why, but it makes me laugh every time I see it. Whatever makes your heart (and mouth) smile, indulge and release that pent up stress.
What can you do when you have no control over what is or about to happen? Nothing at all but throw your hands up in the air, take a deep breath and forge on. Sometimes reflection, prayer, journaling can help you channel that despair and then you just have to let it go. Recognize that you cannot change a bad situation or control every single aspect of your life. My charge to you is to make this a stress-free holiday season even when life doesn’t go exactly how you want it. Now I’m going to channel a little Bobby McFerrin because I’m in a throw-back kind of mood (sorry Pharrel– I still love you). You can’t help but smile when you hear this song.