Ah the holidays. There’s a chill in the air and cars filling parking lots from now until Christmas. Everywhere you look are reminders of the holiday season.
And although words like joy, happiness, and peace show up on Christmas cards, ads, and store fronts, you may be feeling anything but calm and centered.
Dread, stress, and overwhelm may instead be dominating your life during this holiday season.
But stress doesn’t have to hijack your holidays! You can remain your fabulous self by learning how to de-stress during the holidays.
And if you can de-stress during the holidays, you can definitely learn to de-stress during other chaotic life phases too!
Stick with me and I guarantee you’ll be feeling more Zen in no time!
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1. Stick to Your Routine
Do you have a solid daily self-care routine?
Establishing a daily routine which carves out non-negotiable time for you is one of the keys in being able to de-stress during the holidays. Although there may be some deviation from a strict schedule at times, this is not the time to completely abandon self-care rituals!
Exercise and other forms of physical self-care ground you with purpose and a sense of accomplishment. And exercise comes with the added bonus of an immediate mood boost from endorphins!
No self-care ritual would be complete without emotional fulfillment either. Whether it’s journaling, reading, or any number of hobbies which bring joy to your life, keep it up! Don’t give up those things which light you up inside, especially when life gets crazy.
The holidays are stressful enough without eliminating those easy sources of daily accomplishment, personal growth and encouragement.
Abandoning your daily rituals during the holidays (or other stressful life events) is like rolling out the welcome mat for stress, anxiety, and overwhelm. It’s asking for trouble. Cling to those positive self-care rituals like your life depends on it!
And if you’re having trouble coming up with ideas for your daily self-care routine, here are some ideas to get you started.
- Walking the dog
- Practicing an instrument
- Trying out a new hobby
- Reading a personal development book
- Taking a bath
- Quiet time set aside to dream big
- Catching up with a friend
2. Abandon Perfectionism
I recently started reading this powerful book about the habits mentally strong women avoid. One of the very first habits discussed in the book is perfectionism.
This dangerous mindset trap can trick you into believing you’re not good enough. It convinces you that everyone else is happier, calmer, and more successful than you. And even if you’ve gotten a handle on it in the past, it can sneak its way back into your life during particularly stressful times such as the holidays.
As women, we tend to struggle with perfectionism and unrealistic expectations to a greater extent than men. We feel greater levels of internal pressure to always put our best face forward. To achieve, succeed, and to never let anyone see us sweat.
And the holidays are no exception. You likely have all these expectations about the “perfect” Christmas without even realizing it. All these completely unrealistic ideals you’re constantly striving to meet. Despite their unrealistic nature, you continue to see the gap between your ideals and reality which drives you further and further into negativity. Not to mention all the extra work required for you to make your ideas reality in an already packed schedule.
But what if, instead of busting your butt and getting all stressed out, you simply let it all go? What if you dropped all those unrealistic expectations and simply lived in the moment?
Now is the perfect opportunity to confront your perfectionist tendencies and take a step towards a more positive mindset! Let this holiday season be the very first in a lifetime free from perfection.
If perfectionism is a struggle for you, check out this post for help!
3. De-Stress During the Holidays by Living in the Moment
One of the reasons perfectionism is so damaging is that it takes your mind off the moment. It forces you to focus on the gap between expectation and reality instead of on simply living.
It’s the perfect set-up for stress and discontent.
Think how much happier and more peaceful you would be if you let all that other stuff go. How much easier the holidays would be if you stopped worrying about finding the perfect gift or baking the ultimate cookies or spending hours upon hours decorating your house.
What if you enjoyed each moment for what it is and felt grateful for all the gifts in your life?
Stop trying to force your life to be something it’s not. Instead focus on all the tiny moments which make your life worth living.
The wonder in your kids’ eyes as you drive around looking at Christmas lights. Sneaking in that hot cup of coffee in the morning before the kids wake up. Cuddling up and watching an inspiring movie with your spouse.
Instead of getting caught up in the stress and commercialism of the holidays this year, look for opportunities to breathe in the small things and to simply enjoy the moment.
4. Forget Comparison
Comparison is another of those sneaky mindset traps which sucks you into believing everyone around you is happier and farther ahead than you are. As if there’s some type of timeline we are all supposed to be following in life and you’re failing if you’re not at a certain point by now.
And although the holidays are a time for joy and peace, they can also be a reminder of what you don’t have. Maybe you haven’t found your dream job yet. Or maybe between work and home, you’re struggling to find time for yourself. Maybe your kids fight constantly and you can’t remember the last time you had date night with your spouse.
We all struggle in one way or another. We’re all fighting internal battles which we don’t share with the world.
You don’t see your neighbor posting about their struggles with depression. Your best friend is also not posting about their dysfunctional relationship with their parents. Or the fact that they dropped out of college because of overwhelming anxiety.
But do you know what is shared with the world? Triumphs. Beauty. Success. The good stuff.
We are all on different journeys and are faced with distinctly unique challenges. It’s impossible to compare your journey with someone else’s because they’re not even close to the same.
Don’t even waste your time trying. Live your own life. Find your own joy.
Check out this post for more on how you can ditch comparison.
5. Plan Ahead
I know the holidays are already upon us but a practical way to de-stress during the holidays is to plan ahead. Every year I resolve to start the gift buying process earlier in the year but have yet to actually do this.
I will say that I am taking full advantage of Amazon and the Wal-Mart pick-up feature to reduce my in-person shopping time and Covid risk.
And with the pandemic being what it is this year, we are all facing a pared down holiday season with fewer festivities and events.
As someone who works exclusively with the age group most susceptible to Covid fatalities, I am fully supportive of people staying home and reducing the risk of spread. Despite my support of quarantine, the thought of missing said festivities is sad but ultimately for the greater good.
Take this opportunity to focus on what truly matters this holiday season. Strip the commercialism out of the holidays and simply spend time with loved ones, even if it’s via Facetime.
Plan out how you will celebrate the season and maybe even how you will celebrate next Christmas. There’s no time like the present to plan ahead for next year!
Bonus Ideas to Help You De-Stress During the Holidays
Despite your best efforts, it’s entirely possible that stress will creep in during this season. Try one of these tips to take back your calm and to once again feel the peace.
Quick & Uplifting Reads
Here are a few of my very favorite reads to transform your mindset and give you a more positive outlook. The first one was absolutely mind-blowing in all the best ways!
I find Rachel Hollis to be incredibly inspirational and relatable. She has a way of getting through to me like few other authors are.
And lastly is the book I mentioned above and am still in the midst of. Thus far it’s also been incredibly inspirational., ,
Sleeping after you have kids has its own set of challenges. You make it through the baby phase of frequent nighttime feedings and diaper changes and then hit the toddler phase. In this phase, your littles may be overcome with fears of monsters and nightmares, prompting you to have them sleep on your floor or in your bed just to get a few precious hours of shut eye.
And then they hit school age where they may flip on every light in the house just to stumble to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Don’t forget the slammed doors and other loud midnight noises.
And then there’s your spouse. You love him dearly but he also feels the need to flip on every light in the house on the way to the bathroom, waking you just when you had finally drifted off after tucking those little monsters in.
All this nighttime waking leaves you feeling tired, groggy, and crabby the next day.
I know because this was my life. Until one day I had an epiphany. What about a sleep mask?
I went to Amazon and found a mask I love and haven’t looked back since! It’s changed my sleep game and if you’re struggling, you should definitely check this one out!
Get more tips for better sleep here.
Up Your Exercise Game
Until Covid hit, I was a faithful gym-goer. But as going to the gym is one of the more risky things you can do right now, I have shifted to home workouts.
I’m a huge fan of Beachbody and have seen fantastic results from several of their programs.
Despite my love for Beachbody, I also love running. But I live in a cold weather state and running outside in the winter is treacherous at times. Between the freezing cold temperatures and the ice, it’s tough to enjoy outdoor winter running.
And so, after much deliberation, I decided to take the plunge and invest in a treadmill.
We’ve had it almost a week now and it’s hands down one of the best decisions I’ve made! This particular model is suitable for both light walking and faster running and the machine itself is so quiet you can barely hear it in the next room. It’s truly been a smart investment in a healthier future!
An Inspirational Movie
And if you’re looking for an inspirational movie, look no further than the live action version of Mulan. I have no idea how I missed the cartoon version so had no idea what to expect but was blown away by this film.
Don’t miss out on this one! It will leave you motivated, inspired, and ready to take on any challenge that comes your way.
It’s Your Turn
I truly hope this post has inspired you to find ways to de-stress during the holidays. This is not a typical holiday season but figure out how you can make the most of it anyway! We only get one life and your job is to make the most of it, especially during the challenging times.
Drop a comment below with how you de-stress during the holidays and know that I’m sending you warm holiday wishes!