Six ways to beat festive-season stress

Christmas is for many of us a time of considerable stress. We bring you six simple ways to get through trails and tribulations of the holiday season.

1. Take The Time To Exercise

Go to the gym. Get up early enough to squeeze in a brisk walk or a jog before the kids wake up. Do whatever you have to do to raise your heart-rate for at least 30 minutes four or five times each week over the holidays. Besides the cardiovascular benefits you’ll get boosts from mood-lifting hormones and some time to yourself. Exercising now will also allow you to avoid the stress of post-holiday dieting. Stay fit over the next few weeks and you’ll feel saner in the short-term, while also heading off the long-term stress of unwanted weight from the feasting season.

2. Avoid Excess

We at Stressbusting like a cocktail as much as the next person but believe us when we tell you that two Hot Buttered Rums don’t taste any better than one. To get through the holidays you have to pace yourself. Eat and drink in moderation.

3. Don’t Try To Be Perfect Or Do Everything

Saying no can be hard, especially to friends and loved ones whose holiday expectations seem to hang on your willingness to be there for them and to make things perfect. But you can’t make things perfect and there’s no sense trying. Do what you reasonably can and make sure that the people who love and depend on you know that you love them too. If you take on too much you’ll disappoint everyone.

4. Be Generous – But Be Sensible

Yes, we all want to be generous at this time of year but we also want to avoid the stress of mounting debt. So, be generous but be sensible. Keep your eye on your finances and at least try to live within your means.

5. Get Enough Sleep

The fastest path to burnout – and stress – is to fall behind on sleep. Many tasks during the holidays demand your attention: shopping, baking, writing cards, attending this party and that. Resolve now that you’ll stick to a bedtime that allows you the amount of sleep you need. Some things on your list may not get done, but if you end up short on sleep the undone list will be even longer. Don’t be embarrassed to leave the Christmas part a bit early. The holiday season is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself.

6. Remember What’s Important

It’s a cliché worth repeating that holidays are in the end not about gifts or prize-winning decorations. They’re about taking the time to appreciate the people and beliefs we hold most dear. If getting the last gifts on your list means not having a chance to catch up by phone with your aging aunt, consider skipping the shopping trip. Your aunt may not be here next year. If visiting the in-laws for Christmas dinner makes you tense, take a deep breath and consider the meaning it has for your spouse and children. Let that meaning be part of your happiness, too.

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