The holidays are supposed to be a time for family and fun, but they often end up being more stressful than anticipated. It’s hard to figure out how to deal with the added stress of the season when you’re in the middle of pulling your hair out, cooking dinner for twelve and navigating family drama, so now’s the time to figure out a stress-busting plan. Going into the holidays with some (free or inexpensive) relaxation tips can help save your sanity and your budget during this hectic time of year!
If you find yourself overwhelmed with too many commitments, force yourself to take half a day to slow down. Send your family somewhere else for a couple hours, sit on your couch with some hot chocolate and popcorn, and watch your favorite Christmas movie. For added relaxation, switch out that hot chocolate for a cup of hot tea. According to “Life by the Cup” author and Zhena’s Gypsy Tea founder Zhena Muzyka, tea contains L-Theanine, which is an amino acid that helps relax your brain.
Go on a digital diet
Forget the food for a moment. Constantly being plugged into our technology can interfere with qualify family time. Rather than unrealistically expecting everyone to completely detox from technology, try and set smaller goals. For instance, ask everyone to put up their cell phones on Sundays, or collect all phones during movie night. Setting this standard at the beginning of the season can help minimize digital distractions and avoid arguments over rules since everyone will know what to expect.
Focus on being grateful
It can be easy to get swept up in the chaos of the season: what you’re going to wear, who you’re buying gifts for, etc. Try and take a second to remember, and appreciate, all the things in your life that you’re grateful for. Keeping the true meaning of the holidays in the forefront of your mind can help ground you in the moment and relieve stress. It’s a good way to take a step back, stop worrying about the little things, and recognize everything you have in your life that makes you happy.
Find somewhere to volunteer
Taking just an hour to help someone less-fortunate can do wonders for reminding you how much you have to be grateful for in your own life. You’ll also feel good about being able to help your community and those around you. While you’ll be giving your time, you’ll be getting the satisfaction of knowing that others are taken care of, which is a great feeling to foster during the holiday season. This is also a nice family activity that can be done without technology.
Outsource your to-do list
If you’ve got a million things to do this holiday season, don’t be afraid to ask for help. You can ask your family members to run errands, or help decorate your tree. Download an app that provides a service such as grocery delivery. Give kids the opportunity to earn some money through extra chores (like addressing and mailing holiday cards). If you’re cooking for extended family, consider making it a potluck. The important thing is finding ways to make sure all the work doesn’t fall to you, so you have less to stress over and more time to relax.