The stress of the holidays!

14 Dec

As you are reading this, you are probably like me adding to your already mile-long holiday to-do list. Goodies to bake, cards to write, packages to buy and wrap, parties to attend, travel plans to make…..your list is already winding down the hall and will soon hang out the living room window.

christmastressWith so much happening, little time is left to take care of ourselves, and our physical and emotional resources may become depleted. While some stress can help motivate us to be productive, too much stress can harm out health and reduce our enjoyment of the season. Yes, the stress of the holidays has begun. Let’s make this holiday less stressful and more enjoyable, by using the following tips:

  • Plan Ahead and Get Organized: Many of us are so busy with our daily lives that we often don’t feel as though we have time to plan ahead for the holidays. Taking care of things ahead of time, such as shopping for gifts and completing holiday cards, reduces your workload as you near the holidays. Make lists of what to buy and from where (I have lists for my lists now); create a list of everything that needs to be done and purchased. Remember to set a budget for shopping. Keeping your spending limited can help to avoid feeling stressed later.
  • Set Realistic Expectations: Rather than expecting your holiday to be “perfect,” focus on the real meaning of the season. The ultimate goal is to enjoy quality time with the people you care about. Remind yourself that it is ok if the food or décor is not perfect. Focus on the positive moments as much as possible.
  • Take Care of Yourself: Taking good care of yourself is one of the cornerstones of stress management, and it’s especially important at holiday time – for you and everyone else in the family (especially children). Your stress can splash over onto other family members – so it’s a kindness to everyone when you take good care of yourself. Make sure to eat healthy foods, exercise and get plenty of rest. Relaxation fortifies us renewing our physical and emotional resources. Focus on healthier foods, such as vegetables, fruits and lean meats. You may also want to ask yourself are you truly hungry or eating because food is readily available, sometimes the lines get blurred. Increase your physical activity by walking after meals and taking stairs rather than elevators. Take time for yourself, even if it’s only a few minutes while you are lying in bed in the morning.

Finally be in the moment. Every stressful situation, glitch, perceived setback and roadblock has the potential for awesome memories and great stories in the future.

Written by Keishon J. Thomas, County Extension Agent in Macon and Bibb County in Georgia

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