How Do You Avoid Christmas Stress? Choices You Can Make To Reduce Holiday Rabies
By David Martin, President and CEO of VeinInnovations
Christmas is upon us. It’s a joyful season, but it’s also a stressful holiday. There are multiple parties and family gatherings, food to be cooked, dishes to get done, kids to get out the door, elderly relatives to look after… Christmas can be hectic. Starting to feel Christmas stress creep in? Here are five choices you can make to reduce stress during the holidays.
Practice Healthy Habits
This might sound impossible in the moment. It’s not! The more healthy habits you choose to keep up during the holidays, the better the holidays will be. Feeling run down only adds to stress. During Christmas festivities, try not to overdo it on sweets. Roller-coaster blood sugar leads to stress and meltdowns. Pack yourself (and your children) a simple, one or two-ingredient snack with fruit, nuts, or veggies.
Keep up physical activity. You have time – really – to take 20 minutes and go for a walk. Do jumping jacks and push ups in the basement before your morning shower. Get your blood flowing and you’ll feel better all day.
Finally, get your rest. You need sleep. If you stay up late the night before, well, it’s the holidays. If you’re lucky enough to have some days off, sleep in a bit, or grab a nap.
How much, really, can you do in a day? What can your family do? The more people you add to the equation, the more you need to adjust your expectations. Little ones are tough to wrangle and can really only handle one or two events in a day. Teenagers might be worse. Sometimes, for the sake of sanity, we have to say no.
Try not to overextend yourself or your family by saying yes to too many events. If you can’t contribute more than one dish to a meal, say so. (Saying no earlier is better!) If your toddler gets sick, stay home or send your wife and older child to the party on their own. Say no when you need to, and you can help stop the spread of holiday rabies. You’ll also be teaching your children that it is okay to sit out some events as opposed to rushing around, packing in too much, and getting irritable and sick in all the doing.
There’s the ideal, idyllic Christmas we see in ads and cheesy movies. And then there’s our family. We have the family we have. It’s okay that you have an aunt who overdoes it every year on Christmas Eve and tells the same stories. Acceptance and gratitude create more acceptance and gratitude, and reduce “expectation stress.” It’s been said that expectations are resentments in the making. If you can temper your expectations, your holiday will definitely be merrier.
To temper expectations, don’t compare yourself to the ideal on TV or curated Facebook pages. No one gets a perfect Christmas. So if you’re struggling, at least remember you’re not alone.
At the end of the day, Christmas is meant to be a holiday where those who celebrate it give thanks. If you feel overwhelmed and stressed, take a breather. Take 15 minutes all to yourself – read a book or flip through a magazine. Do whatever calms you.
Or maybe just step out into the cold air and stargaze in the quiet night. Count your blessings;
your blood pressure may well go down in equal measure.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!