Ways To Reduce Stress This Time Of Year
’Tis The Season To Be Stressed Out…
Yes, this time of year is filled with some wonderful things but for may of us, we are the ones who make it all happen. From planning menus and shopping for the groceries, to buying gifts, wrapping, organizing, cleaning, decorating, and tons of family and friend meetups/hosting/events….
Put the “Merry” back in Christmas and stress less with these tips and tricks:
*** Set boundaries for your schedule & spending ***
Over the holidays, you get to decide where you go, how long you stay there, who you invite into your home, and how much money you’ll spend. It might feel like your mom, your father-in-law or your second cousin will be calling the shots.
No... YOU Choose.
It’s so important to set boundaries before you’re knee-deep in Christmas festivities. Choose to set your boundaries now! Decide what’s important to you and protect it with everything you’ve got.
*** Focus on what you can control ***
There are only two things on planet Earth you can control: your thoughts and your actions. That’s it. You can’t control what your parents say around the dinner table. You can’t control your kids’ attitudes. And when you choose to let go of what you can’t control, you’ll automatically reduce the amount of stress in your life by refusing to carry other people’s problems.
In seasons of stress in my life, the first thing I do every morning is make a list of what I’m stressed about. Then I write down the things that are in my control. Everything else gets tossed in the trash. Take control and ownership of your thoughts and actions and do what’s best for you and your family.
*** Picture the Christmas you want to have ***
This is the perfect year for a holiday reset.
Set expectations for yourself and others by painting a picture of what you want your Christmas to look like. Who is sitting around the table at mealtime? What are you all eating? Talking about? Are you laughing with your kids as you make Santa-shaped pancakes? Or are you holding hands with your spouse in front of the fire? Maybe you dusted off the old vinyl Christmas album and you’re jamming away.
Whatever it is, keep that picture at the front of your mind. Share your picture with your loved ones so they can understand where you’re coming from. Ask them to paint a picture of what they want, too, so you can choose to honor them.
And if something comes up that threatens to take the place of what’s truly important to you and your family, give yourselves permission to say no. Let your calendar and your to-do list reflect the Christmas you actually want to have this year.
*** Make a Christmas budget ***
A budget is creating boundaries for your wallet (or bank account). And budgeting helps reduce stress because it gives you a plan for your money. Make a zero-based budget every month before the month begins.
Remember, you get to control your thoughts and actions—including your spending. You get to decide where every single dollar in your bank account goes. Budgeting for Christmas will help you avoid the impulse purchases or spending too much on those white elephant gifts. There’s nothing worse than waking up the day after Christmas broke with no idea where your paycheck went. So make a budget and stick to it. You’ll be glad you did.
*** Get plenty of sleep and stay healthy ***
Anxiety affects at least 40 million people in the U.S.4 And one of the most powerful tools you have to reduce anxiety is sleep. When you’re not sleeping, your brain’s emotional centers become overactive, which increases anxiety levels. So instead of staying up late for the third night in a row to binge those Hallmark movies, prioritize your sleep. Not only will it keep your stress and anxiety at bay, but it will also help your immune system stay healthy.
Being sick at Christmastime is the absolute worst, so you need to do what you can to avoid it! As you all know, washing your hands and doing immune boosting activities (exercising, getting outside, and resting) will help you feel strong, peaceful, and healthy. Don’t burn the candle at both ends by staying up late and getting up early. Get enough sleep. I can’t stress this enough.
*** Get Creative ***
It is a proven fact that painting can help you rest, manage anxiety, and reduce stress. But “I am not an artist”, you might object. According to science, you don’t have to be “an artist” to benefit from the stress-busting effects of painting. Bob Ross once said, “If you think that you can’t paint, you are not realizing how simple it is.” The fact is that if you focus on painting at any skill level, and you let it inspire you, you’ll be more relaxedregardless of the outcome.
When you create, you engage a different part of your brain, and you can get caught up in what you are creating. Even if you spend 45 minutes on art, it will clear your head and allow you to approach problems from a fresher perspective.
When you add art into your life, you give your mind a chance to relax and focus its creative powers on something. This will help to clear your head so that you can attack the problems in life with a fresh mind. Art is one of the best gifts that you can give yourself.