Avoiding Stress during the Holidays

Dec 12, 2013

In the wake of Thanksgiving, we’re fast approaching Christmas and New Year’s. This is the heart of the holiday season – the scent of pine is in the air, the lights are up, shops are humming and champagne is chilling. Is anything missing? At this time of year, it’s easy to get swept up in the commotion and all of a sudden feel a little dispirited and a lot stressed.

Don’t let that happen to you. Here’s how:

1. Start by shutting out the “noise” you don’t want to hear – the incessant marketing pitch via radio and TV to get out and shop; or the cheesy Christmas music that has you teetering on the edge of insanity. To the extent possible, modify your auditory and visual environment to create space for what is sacred and beautiful to you about the season.

2. You’ve shut out the “noise,” now it’s time to express the spirit of the holidays in a way that feels good to you. Fill your house with the scents, sounds and lights that bring you comfort, evoke happy memories and shift you into a holiday frame of mind. The aromas of your favorite Christmas candle or spiced apple cider warming on the stove go a long way. Create a festive playlist you love. And embrace soft, warm lighting.

3. Take care of your body. Amid all the shopping, gift-wrapping, card-writing, cooking and hostessing, take care to eat well, exercise, moisturize dry skin, soothe your nerves at the end of the day and get adequate sleep. Remember: even positive stress is stress!

4. Create your own holiday traditions. The holidays are a time of reflection and, above all, connection. Being with friends and family is good for the soul. Make this time with loved ones extra special by sharing unique experiences. Have everyone in the family contribute a handmade ornament to the tree – kids love a good craft project! Invite friends over for homemade eggnog and a holiday movie marathon.  Whatever you do, make it your own and plan to do it again…and again.

5. When it comes to exchanging gifts, think quality – not quantity. Give meaningful gifts to those you love, whether or not you expect anything in return. When you focus on making someone deeply happy, finding the right gift will cease to feel like a burden. Connect to the sentiment of giving and you’ll be giving yourself a gift, too!