Stress. Many throw this word around lightheartedly without recognizing the impact it can have on your health. If not managed well, stress can wreak havoc on your life. As stressful as day-to-day activities and life situations can be, add to that the stress of the holidays and you have magnified your chances of feeling overwhelmed, weary, and exhausted. You can avoid this by paying attention to what's important.
What's important? It's important that you get through the holidays feeling good and hopeful for what's to come. It's important that you protect yourself from the pressures of believing that perfection is the goal. It's important that your physical and mental health remain intact and not be compromised for things that probably won't even matter six months later.
Here are six tips on what you DON'T want to do if you want to minimize stress.
- DON'T overspend. Before you head to the stores create a budget. Determine how much you can spend on holiday gifts, food, and entertaining. Most importantly, commit to sticking to your budget; don't let your emotions entice you to overspend. Another tip, start saving at the beginning of the year for the upcoming holidays.
- DON'T over commit. Determine which events mean the most to you and attend those. If you have a hard time saying no, don't commit on the spot. Give it some thought and respond later.
- DON'T do it all yourself. Allow others to participate in the festivities by delegating responsibilities. People like to feel as if they contributed in making the holiday special.
- DON'T compare yourself to others. Trying to keep up with the Jones's is a sure way to create stress. Eliminate the need to compare how you celebrate the holidays to how your friends or family may celebrate. Create your own traditions around what's comfortable for you and the people in your life.
- DON'T overindulge. Eating and drinking too much (too often) can be a slippery slope to self-loathing thoughts and behaviors. You're setting yourself up for regret later. Be mindful about how much you eat and drink. Don't abandon your healthy habits.
- DON'T dismiss professional help. Despite your best efforts, you might find it hard to keep it together. Depression and anxiety may creep in. Pay attention to your sleep patterns, your eating habits, and your overall mood. If the holidays become too overwhelming, seek professional help.
Surviving the holidays may be a matter of managing your expectations. It can be a great time of the year to reconnect with family and friends; and to just let your guard down. Manage the stress by paying attention to what you do and to what you don't do. Overall, be flexible and don't take things too seriously.