Holiday Season

As much as the Hallmark Channel would lead us to believe the holidays are all magic and no stress, we know that’s not entirely accurate. Yes, the holiday season is usually joyous and fun, but it can also be a time of overload, stress and burnout.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. After all, you can still spend quality time with family and friends, as well as enjoy all the food, decorations and gifts without all the tension and anxiety. How, you ask? By working to manage your expectations and using some of these stress-busting strategies.

#1. Ramp Up Your Self Care

Start off the holiday season fully charged by making self-care a priority. In the days leading up to big celebrations, make sure to squeeze in some time to do the things that most energize you. It can be as simple as having lunch with a friend or hitting up your favorite fitness spot for a quick sweat.

The idea is to restore and relax your mind and body, so that when the inevitable seasonal stress sets in, you’re able to remain calm and collected to enjoy it. As a side note, don’t skimp on regular healthy habits, either. For instance, make sure you’re eating and sleeping well to ward off any illnesses. That way, you won’t miss out on the fun.

#2. Decorate Early

We’re not saying you must start stringing up Christmas lights the day after you toss out your pumpkins. But you may want to consider getting your winter holiday décor on a little earlier this year for two reasons. First, experts say decorating early tends to make people happier and more joyful, as decorations bring to mind fond memories of past holiday celebrations.

Secondly, decorating a bit sooner takes an item off your ever-growing holiday to-do list. This also means you’ll feel less burdened trying to figure out last minute whether you left the holiday lights in the basement, attic or garage. So, take on the tree trimming or mantle sprucing early on and enjoy all your hard work and efforts a bit longer this year.

#3. Don’t Clean Up Right After the Festivities

Whether it’s after enjoying a big family dinner or decorating the gingerbread house, the temptation to clean up quickly is real. But this season, make a point of slowing down the tidying up to savor the moment or meal with family and friends. Dirty dishes can wait while you prioritize conversations and making memories with those you hold dear.

#4. Prioritize Gifting

With some careful planning and thought, your holiday gift giving can be more generous and less stress-inducing. The key is to make a list of people for whom you must absolutely buy a gift and then get to brainstorming. Personalization and quality are important here, too.

Indeed, giving those you love and adore something they’ve been talking about or need shows how much you truly care about them. So, whether that’s the funky lamp your mom has been hinting at or the retro couch your nephew needs for his new place, buy and give gifts that offer a fun and meaningful purpose.

Cherish the People and Memories We Hold Dear

With some thoughtful planning and a commitment to let go of perfection, you can have a holiday that’s full of gratitude and merriment. Leave stress out of the season by decorating early and remembering to carve out time to appreciate what this time of year is truly all about: cherishing the many blessings we have in our lives.