This holiday season, give yourself a thoughtful gift: less go, go, go and more peaceful glow.
We’ve wrapped up some of our best seasonal stress busters — just for you. In the weeks ahead, we hope they bring you comfort and inspiration to make this time about what matters to you.
1. Do less, enjoy more.
Too many festivities can make the holidays seem more like chores to complete than times to treasure. Remember, you don’t have to say yes to every invite or activity. Pick those that mean the most to you and your family — and politely pass on those that just add stress.
2. Embrace meaningful mini traditions.
Think about what brings you comfort and joy. It might be as simple as lighting candles, sipping on spiced tea and thinking about your blessings. Or how about thumbing through old family holiday pictures?
3. Let go of your great expectations.
Striving for picture-perfect celebrations can create a perfect storm of stress. Remind yourself it’s OK if the kids get cranky — and grown-ups too. Ditto if the gravy is a little lumpy. It helps to take your holiday lumps with a sense of humor.
4. Enjoy merry minutes with loved ones.
Memorable moments with family and friends don’t have to involve oodles of time. What’s going to warm your heart? Snuggle with your child while you read a classic storybook. Take in the neighborhood lights with your sweetie — or watch a holiday movie with your bestie. Surprise a faraway friend or relative with a call.
5. Keep the fun, toss the tedium.
Give yourself permission to rethink your approach to activities. Maybe you’d rather not be stuck in the kitchen for days. Skip the homemade cookies and pies — and order from the bakery instead. Do you dread wrestling with wrapping paper? Go green with reusable gift bags and boxes.
6. Spread a little cheer.
Look for opportunities to do small acts of kindness. You’ll boost your own mood — and help others feel good too. Let the parent with a crying kiddo go ahead of you in line. Hold the elevator for someone. Bring a cup of coffee to a co-worker.
7. Resist the urge to overspend.
It can be easy this time of year to blow off budgets. But that can add up to post-holiday regret and stress. If finances are a concern, think about what’s doable — and how you might control costs or scale back. Talking with loved ones openly about the situation may help too.
8. Take time for yourself too.
As busy as you may be, don’t skimp on self-care. That’s a recipe for feeling ragged. Get your sleep. And try to squeeze in at least some exercise every day. It’s one of the best stress busters around. You’ll also feel better if you go easy on treats — and keep your energy up with smart food choices.