Amidst all of this merriment, many of us still struggle to maintain health, keep perspective and fend off stress. So, as you pull a chair up to the holiday table, go store to store in search of this year’s stocking surprises or simply face the next family gathering, keep these tips in mind:
1. Focus on what you can control
Certainly preparing meals, wrapping gifts, wrangling kids and spending time with different personalities, even (especially) family, can result in stress. The key is to keep from anticipating angst and truly acknowledge that you are in control of your emotions. Mind your words, set healthy boundaries and resist the urge to meddle.
2. Early to bed and later to rise
Work deadlines, accepting every invite, online shopping until the wee hours and lots of caffeinated recharges can lead to depletion well before the first bow is tied. Make your rest a priority. If that means passing on a binge TV marathon, choose zzzs. Sleep improves immunity, lowers stress and enhances your ability to be present with friends.
3. Admit you cannot do it all
Tracking down every present your kids want, answering every call from friends, taking every family obligation to heart and tackling every last-minute need is unnecessary stress. Give yourself a pass to actually linger with your hot cocoa, walk through holiday lights and put some Christmas songs on repeat as you drive the long way home.
4. Strike a balance between party hard and hardly party
This is a friendly reminder to have a designated driver, hydrate throughout the night and watch how much you drink (it saves friendships, Facebook shame and next day recovery time). Pacing yourself can prevent legal woes, avoid stress and keep your pocketbook healthy. If you usually let alcohol break the ice, Google “conversation starters” instead.
5. Excel at showing gratitude
A gracious heart holds little room for arguments, criticism and stress. Besides, having a sincere compliment, grateful comment or appreciative smile on hand is always a great way to gift your host or hostess. Think kindness, count your blessings, take an extra second before speaking and set your sights on the joy of life.
So, as you countdown with your advent calendar, light your next candle or set appointment reminders on your phone, remember that less stress this holiday is the gift that keeps giving you peace of mind.