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The brisk air, holiday music and festive decorations tell us that December is here and the holidays are around the corner! Like many others, Christmas is one of my favourite times of year. I love getting together with family and friends to share food and create memories. Although holiday celebrations can be a great time to connect with loved ones, at times, the number of holiday gatherings to attend, gifts to buy and things to do can seem overwhelming.
This year I will be visiting my family in Toronto for the holidays, and already my 10 day trip is fully scheduled. Visiting a college friend one day, my high school friend on another and on it goes. It is already looking like my holiday will be less of a vacation than I’d like. Today, people are busier than ever, and combined with pressures of the holidays, we can end up feeling stressed.
To help reduce stress over the holidays, here are a few tips from the Mayo Clinic that can help us have a more peaceful holiday.
Plan ahead. We all know shopping is best done early to avoid crowds and disappointment, but planning other events and activities can also be helpful. For example, setting aside a day for baking, a day for visiting and so on can help reduce the stress of organizing things at the last minute. Just try not to make your days too full!
Learn to say no. It’s natural to want to do everything and see everyone during the holidays. But, if you take on too much it can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Learning when you can and should say no can be helpful to reduce the pressure to do everything and leave you more time for the things you really care about.
Try to stick to healthy habits. In my family the holidays are a time when sweets are aplenty and every social gathering revolves around food. Enjoying food is important, but try not to overindulge. Continue to have good sleep habits and enjoy physical activity. Going for a walk, or ice skating are great ways to enjoy family time while being active together.
Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Even just 15 minutes alone may provide the refreshment you need to continue your day. Find what works for you to reduce stress and clear your mind. This might be focusing on deep breathing, a few yoga poses, or listening to music. It can be anything that provides a break for your mind and raises your energy.
It can also be helpful to remember what makes you truly happy during the holiday season. Do you enjoy spending time with family and friends? Getting a special gift for a loved one? Are there traditions that lift your spirit? Focusing on doing the things that are meaningful to you can help reduce stress and leave you feeling happy and energized.
For more tips on how to cope with the stress of the holidays, visit http://gb.cmha.ca/stress-depression-and-the-holidays-tips-for-coping/