5 Ways To Ease Holiday Stress
Ya'll, let's get real: Christmas is supposed to be such a fun and joyful time, but some of us need a little extra help to ease holiday stress.
Maybe it's the never-ending to-do list. Maybe you left gift-wrapping until Christmas Eve *raises hand*. Maybe you deal with anxiety or depression. Maybe your holiday weekend is crammed full with family dinners and Christmas traditions. Maybe you are missing a loved one *raises hand again*. Maybe family stresses you out.
Whatever it is, the winter blues are real and they tend to spike over Christmas. For me, it's the long list of things to do, the running from one person's house to another, the awkward conversations, the fact that my mom isn't there, the fact that her birthday is the 26th....the list goes on and on.
Bottom line, I've learned over the past couple of years that the antidote to stress is self-care. That being said, here are a couple of suggestions to help ease holiday stress:
#1: do something for yourself:
In the next couple of days before Christmas, find one thing you can do for yourself. Maybe it's something as little as treating yourself to a pizza instead of cooking dinner. Maybe it's something as big as going on a pre-Christmas-it's-okay-cause-I'll-be-getting-Christmas-money-in-the-next-couple-days shopping spree. Maybe it's scheduling a massage or staying up late to watch one more episode of Grey's Anatomy. Whatever it is, find time to ease the stress by choosing to do something for yourself.
#2: Use essential oils
OILS OILS OILS. Essential oils are amazing. I would recommend lavender, vetiver, cedarwood, or frankincense for anxiety. Just put a dab on the wrists or feet and feel yourself calm down immediately. Take them to your family's houses and make everyone put oils on their wrists too so that everybody calms down! (Kidding...kinda)
#3: Take a bath
Take a relaxing bath (complete with oils...see #2) and turn your brain off for a little bit. Baths are my time to let myself come down from this overstimulating world we live in. I take them like five or six times a week and they always make me feel better immediately. Add wine (or whiskey or vodka or beer or basically any form of alcohol) for an even more relaxing experience.
#4: check something small off your to-do list
This sounds counter-productive, but hear me out. For my fellow Type A humans, this is super important. Choose one small thing from your to-do list and GET. IT. DONE. I find that checking something off the list gives me more confidence and immediately makes me feel like I've done something productive. It takes some weight off of my shoulders! The idea is to choose something small that takes minimal effort (without causing more stress) but is also relieving. It could be something like doing a small chore around the house or wrapping that last gift. For me, it's changing the sheets on our bed because I've been meaning to do that all week and haven't gotten around to it. One less thing on the to-do list equals one less thing on your mind!
#5: set boundaries for yourself
I cannot wait to write about this subject in the future. If you know you don't enjoy being around your family on Christmas because they stress you out, decide you will only stay for two hours. If you know you can't get everything done before Christmas, choose what's most important and give yourself grace for the rest. Setting boundaries is so important! You cannot control anything outside of yourself. Set realistic expectations for YOU so that you don't stress yourself out by failing or coming up short of what you hoped.
For me, this looks like setting the expectation for myself that I will most likely be a basket case on Christmas missing my mom. It also looks like setting clear expectations with my husband about how long we spend at each family member's house because he knows running from house to house is stressful to me. Doing this ahead of time prevents me from being disappointed in myself for being a mess and prevents a stressful misunderstanding between my husband and I.