The holiday season is known for surprises. It can bring unwanted family members and friends. It can also bring stress, anxiety and depression.

Reducing stress during the holiday’s doesn’t have to be difficult.

The holiday season can also bring a list of demands. Cooking meals, shopping and baking. When will it ever end? This may be the time to start your stress reduction plan.

The holiday’s don’t have to be stressful. The first step is to stop saying yes when you mean no. You don’t have to please everyone. You shouldn’t be around people that aren’t respectful of your boundaries.

7 tips for reducing stress during the holiday’s:

  1. Stop obsessing about the future. This is another thing you worry about. You can’t predict the future, but yet you spend so much time trying to. It’s alright to plan ahead, but don’t obsess. Meaning, stop worrying about having a bigger house or a better car. Or, will you be able to pay for your children’s college tuition. This keeps you away from enjoying the present. Pay attention to your children now, they will remember the time you spend with them more than anything.
  2. Stop thinking about the past. It’s easy to have regrets about the past. You can’t go back. This doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from the past. But, sitting around constantly having regrets about this past, doesn’t do anyone any good. This will keep you stuck. And, what you need to do is let go and move on.
  3. Work in small rewards daily to your schedule. You work hard and you want to enjoy life. Start to take delight in the simple things. One of my favorite treats is having a cup of coffee in the morning with my cat. He sits on my lap and purrs. I actually find this to be very relaxing. It’s a great way to start the day. It really sets a good tone. If you have a pet, spend 5 minutes playing with it before you leave for work. Buy yourself a frothy coffee drink, if you’d like. Whatever simple pleasures you’d like. Do more of them, and make sure they are guilt free.
  4. Get enough rest. You don’t have to finish every last project before you go to bed. I see this all the time, people put sleep last on the priority list. Sleep is how your body recharges. When you don’t get enough sleep you are more forgetful, and more stressed out. This is when your brain and body rest. As I said earlier, we aren’t meant to go all the time. When was the last time you had a good night’s rest? If you can’t remember, then you are long overdue. Sleep at least 8 hours a night. Or, sleep how much you need to, to feel rested. That’s what is important.
  5. Don’t live on caffeine, or any other substance for that matter. Do you rely on caffeine to get through the day? If you said yes, then you need to cut back. Caffeine fuels anxiety. Not to say, you can’t enjoy a morning cup of coffee. But, you might want to stop there. Especially if you feel stressed out most of the time. Replace caffeine with vegetable juice. Make sure there is no added sugar. Your body and mind will appreciate it.
  6. Make sure to exercise. I know, you’re thinking I just don’t have time for it. I’m here to tell you, that you do. Exercise is just as good for you emotionally as it is for you physically. When people don’t exercise, they are more stressed out and at a higher risk for disease. Instead of eating another donut in the morning, go to the gym. Start your day with a good sweat, and reap the rewards.
  7. Breathe. I know this sounds obvious. Because, if you weren’t breathing you wouldn’t be alive. But, when you are stressed you either hold your breathe or breathe shallowly. The first thing you want to do is get a hold of your breathing. You may need to sit down. Clear your mind and stay in the present. Slowly inhale and slowly exhale. This will help you feel calmer during the crisis.

You will get through the holiday’s. It doesn’t have to be perfect. We are still living in Covid. It’s alright to feel afraid and stay home. Keep social engagements light, and stay in when possible.

If you liked this article, there are more in Reducing Stress. It is filled with many helpful tips that will reduce the stress in your life. So, you can live the life you have always wanted.

Lianne Avila is a Marriage & Family Therapist helping people in San Mateo, CA who are looking to create a life that is happier and more fulfilling. Please subscribe to Lianne’s newsletter on www.LessonsforLove.com to learn more about her services and expertise.

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