Mindful Tips to Handle Holiday Stress

Mindful Tips to Handle Holiday Stress

Dec 13 2022

While the holidays can be full of joy and happiness, they can also bring feelings of stress and anxiety.

By: Amber Battishill

For many of us, our already hectic routines become even busier with a flurry of stressors and items to check off of our to-do lists. From holiday shopping, events, family and visitors, it can feel like the holiday season flies by with no time to reset and recharge, so it’s incredibly important to take steps to keep our health and wellbeing in mind. 

The following healthy lifestyle and mindfulness tips can help you feel more prepared to tackle the holiday season and find joy in the merry moments. 

Woman making salad

Maintain Healthy Habits and Routines

One of the most powerful things we can do is maintain healthy habits during the holiday season. Prioritize fueling your body with nutritious and balanced meals, getting high-quality sleep, performing stress-reduction practices and staying physically active. Instead of giving up your normal routine and healthy habits for holiday obligations, find ways to fit holiday events into your normal routine, where you can. 

Diffuse Stress with Kindness

Spending excess time with family can sometimes lead to conflict and stress for those that may have tumultuous relationships. It’s important to remember you can’t change others, but you can change how you react and respond. When you find that you are dealing with difficult people, it’s best to acknowledge others may be dealing with stressors of their own and that their behavior isn’t a reflection of you. If things continue to feel tense, disengage and take a few deep breaths to collect yourself. Sometimes taking a break is enough to help you calm down and  find a new perspective. 

Prioritize What Really Matters

Feeling frazzled and overwhelmed is common this time of year. Really think about the things you “need” or “want” to do. With so many obligations and high expectations during the holidays, it’s wise to think about what matters to you and those you love. Which of them fill you with joy and excitement? Prioritize them. 

It’s easy to feel obliged to do everything during the holidays, but often it’s not reasonable and can often result in feeling stressed or burnt out. Learning  that things don’t need to be perfect and letting  go of the feeling that you aren’t doing enough can be incredibly freeing. Accepting imperfection can often take the pressure off ourselves and, let’s be honest, most of the time we put more pressure on ourselves than anyone else does. Sitting down and making a list of the things you must do and want to do can be helpful in managing stress. 

Woman writing in journal

When you prioritize, you often find that you feel comfortable with doing less. Slowing down and simplifying your daily routine allows you to fully savor each moment. When your mind is overloaded and stressed, it can feel like you’re constantly wandering off and thinking about the next thing on your list, which can be distracting.

See The Big Picture

Instead of getting wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday hoopla, take a moment to stop and see the big picture. Does this minor inconvenience really matter? 

For example, imagine that you’re holiday shopping and stuck in a slow-moving, long line. Yes, it’s frustrating, but in the big picture, it’s a minor inconvenience. Take this standstill moment to take inventory of things that you’re grateful for. Perhaps you can spread kindness to others to help brighten their day with a compliment or friendly gesture. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the frustration, but sometimes taking a pause to reflect or pivot can make huge strides in your overall happiness. Seek pleasure in the mundane and imperfect moments. 

Get Outside

Sometimes a new atmosphere can be a major stress-reducer and can help regulate your circadian rhythm, leading to better sleep. If possible, try to get outside daily, even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Natural sunlight can be such a mood enhancer, providing a natural boost of serotonin that can cause you to feel uplifted and energized. Take a short walk during your lunch break to soak up the sunlight and clear your mind.

Ask For Help 

There’s no grand prize for doing it all alone and suffering throughout the process. Delegate and ask for help when needed. If the holidays bring up feelings of loneliness or sadness, take time to address and foster your emotional wellness. Check in with your feelings, lean on your support system and nurture your physical health. As always, if you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out to your healthcare provider or professional as necessary.

Woman stretching

Small Changes, Big Impact

Finding little moments in your day where you can unplug and unwind, even if it’s just 5 minutes, can be helpful in creating moments of peace and calm to allow you to recharge throughout your day or alleviate stressful triggers. For example, sit down each evening and enjoy a hot cup of tea, distraction-free (no phone/tv/computer), to take a moment to check in with how you’re feeling or meditate before bedtime. 

Woman meditating For those that hold tension in their body, a 5-minute stretch session at lunch may help to work out kinks and stress that you’re holding in your body. For those seeking connection, having a tech-free dinner can help facilitate more conversation with family and friends. So, try putting phones away or turning off notifications during meal times and see if that’s helpful. 

Rethink Resolutions

Woman doing yoga

We can feel pressured to make grandstand resolutions every year. I challenge you to rethink how you set resolutions. Think smaller. Remember, small steps can lead to big changes, so when thinking about goals and resolutions, make a plan on how you’re going to reach them (be specific). If you’re feeling disappointed about resolutions that have come and gone in the past, let go of what you didn’t resolve or reach from the prior year. Offer yourself the same self-compassion and understanding that you would offer a good friend. 

These strategies and tips are a few of my favorite ways to support the body and mind during the hectic holiday season. I hope they help you to stay in the spirit of good health this holiday season! Happy Holidays! 

About the Author: Amber Battishill is a wife and mom of two living in Southeast Michigan. She is the creator of Mommy Gone Healthy, a healthy living and lifestyle blog for the modern mom and is also a certified yoga and mindfulness teacher. When she’s not playing with her active kiddos, you can find Amber diving into a book, practicing yoga, gardening, or getting creative in the kitchen.

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