Are you feeling the holiday stress? At SMG, we felt toward the end of last week that everyone was out doing holiday errands and shopping. The traffic and parking put our patience to the test! And dealing with kids and everything “wrap up” (including gifts!), whew! We feel like we need a break. So, if you’re feeling like us, maybe you need a bit of holiday stress reduction ideas. No? Here are a few tips to help you make it through New Year’s a little less frazzled.
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Don’t forget to exercise
Oh, it is so easy to skip that yoga, walk, or gym workout. So easy! The time seems to melt through your fingers during the holidays. That extra hour you used to have has disappeared with gift shopping, or a service activity, or a child’s end-of-year program.
Because exercise is so critical to stress reduction, we can only say that you have to find a way to make it happen. And that means you carefully craft each day to carve out the time.
One way to carve out the time is to opt for less complicated meal making to give you 20 minutes for exercise. You can also opt to do high-intensity workouts at home (the 7-minute kind) – something is better than nothing. Taking a walk while doing phone calls is another two-for-one strategy. Later-evening gym visits might also be a possibility. Perhaps swap out TV show watching for exercise – you’ll get more from the exercise, since we’re prioritizing.
Keep your news reading to what’s necessary
There’s a lot of media out right now that’s alarming and stressful. Dr. Andrew Weil says to take a media break –
Taking periodic breaks from the news can promote mental calm and help renew your spirits. This can minimize the anxiety and overstimulation catalyzed by the media.
One way to do this is to stop reading Google News or cable news to get out of the 24/7 news cycle that tends to be headline grabbing. Instead, opt into reading the news once a day from sites who have largely digested yesterday’s news into a more thoughtful and sourced read (generally).
For example, the Los Angeles Times has a few newsletters you can opt for that give you a quick update each morning with links to longer reads. Many other newspapers offer the same. This approach also helps you to manage your time.
Reign in and simplify gifts
For many people, spending a lot on gifts or getting many gifts not only is stressful with time and effort, but also it can be stressful money wise.
Two tips from WebMD –
Know your spending limit. Lack of money is one of the biggest causes of stress during the holiday season. This year, set a budget, and don’t spend more than you’ve planned.
Give something personal. You can show love and caring with any gift that is meaningful and personal. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. Or use words instead of an expensive gift to let people know how important they are to you. Make a phone call or write a note and share your feelings.
We like the idea of getting your children to paint or hand-print pictures as gifts for friends and family. Bring that and an easy treat (even store bought). It’s way more personal and meaningful.
Take a gratitude moment each day
Make a habit of each day taking 2-3 minutes to think about what you’re grateful for. This tip is actually a lifestyle tip for year round, but it becomes even more important in the holidays. We tend to wish that a lot of things were happening the way we want and have less patience.
A daily gratitude habit helps to give you more patience and compassion. Gratitude can also help you avoid any holiday depression, for those who struggle in that way.
Lifestyle Coach Barnetta Bradley has a few thoughts about gratitude during the holidays: