Home for the Holidays: Tips to Relax and Not Stress!

The holiday season is upon us, and while it is a festive and exciting time of year, it can certainly bring stress. Last year, I put together the tips below to help you navigate the holidays, be mindful, and enjoy yourself. I think it’s worth dusting off and resharing – as it all still rings true. I wish you all a wonderful, safe Thanksgiving, and may you take a moment (or two) for yourself!

Below are four tips to help you manage stress amidst the hustle and bustle of the holidays:

  1. It’s OK to say no. When added holiday obligations feel overwhelming, it is essential to evaluate your to-do list. A long list of “to-do’s” is one of the top causes of stress for adults in the United States. To keep from overextending yourself, it’s important to remember that it’s okay to say no. Make sure to carve out time to do the things that make you feel relaxed and happy during this period. Keep self-care a priority on your list, even though it may feel like you’re disappointing someone if you can’t take on a task. Know your limits and only take on what you have time for.
  2. Take a break. Stress may weigh particularly heavily when you feel outward pressure to finish a task — family expectations, a social obligation, or a work deadline. If you can’t say no to the cause of stress, remember that taking yourself out of the situation is okay, even if it’s just for a momentary breather. Set down the shopping list or walk away from those dirty dishes for a few minutes.
  3. Could you check in with your body? While stress may only feel like a mental strain, it can also cause adverse physical health risks. Stress can come with unpredictable symptoms, from high blood pressure to chronic back pain. If you’re feeling stressed, do a quick check-in with your body. Are you sore? Tired? Hungry? Eating healthy and getting a good night’s sleep are often the keys to long-term stress management.
  4. Get Involved. Volunteering in your community can be a healthy, mindful way to manage stress. Luckily, the holiday season provides ample opportunity to do some good. Research shows that volunteering can positively benefit both your mental and physical health. Volunteering often gives people a sense of productivity and gratitude, which are integral to managing stress.

While holiday stress is sometimes unavoidable, learning how to manage it is valuable, meaningful, and differs for every person. Figuring out the stress relief techniques that work for you goes a long way toward making happy holiday memories that will last forever.