The holiday season only comes once a year, and while it’s understandable to aspire for perfection, it’s important to set realistic, attainable goals. The holidays bring joy and happiness as well as frustration and stress. This holiday season, you may have many things to take care of, but the most important one is yourself.

Keep in mind that the holidays are about spending time with loved ones, not gifts. Your friends and family will be happy to create memories with you, so don’t worry about finding an expensive gift or if they will like it; they will appreciate your efforts and affection regardless of what you give them. Keep in mind that the holidays are especially difficult for those who are alone. See if you can extend an act of kindness to those you know are without family and friends during this time of year.

Below are the 7 key tips for reducing your holiday stress:

  1. Accept Imperfections: As we gear up for the holidays, we often set the bar impossibly high for ourselves and then feel upset when our celebrations don’t live up to expectations. Before you start preparing, acknowledge that things may not go exactly as planned. Let’s tell ourselves “It’s OK if it’s not perfect. Imperfection is healthy and normal”.
  2. Don’t Lose Sight of What Really Counts: With long lines and nasty traffic, the holidays can get hectic. When overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle, ask yourself: “Can I use this moment of frustration as an opportunity to reflect?”.
  3. Learn to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed. Friends and colleagues will understand if you can’t participate in every project or activity. If it’s not possible to say no when your boss asks you to work overtime, try to remove something else from your agenda to make up for the lost time.
  4. Don’t abandon healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt.
  5. Respond with Kindness: You can’t change how others act during the stresses of the holiday season, but you can change how you respond to situations. Let’s spread our love and light!
  6. Take a breather. Make some time for yourself. Find an activity you enjoy. Take a break by yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, may refresh you enough to handle everything you need to do. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing, and restoring inner calm.
  7. Balance your Chakras: Try a Reiki session to get a Reset for 2021. Email [email protected] to get $25 off for your session!

Managing Holiday Expectations:

Here are some more quick reminders for you to manage your expectations and burdens during your holidays:

  • Make a budget.
  • Do your best to stick to a budget while still leaving a small amount extra for wiggle room; the holidays tend to bring out the generosity in us.
  • Come up with a plan. Spread out your errands, so you don’t become overwhelmed with too many tasks at once, and don’t forget to schedule some relaxation time!
  • Find the best time to shop. Malls are less crowded on weekdays and weeknights. If you can manage, try to go during the day and park farther away from the stores.
  • Practicing mindful activities while you wait in line can also help you stay calm during the holiday shopping chaos.
  • Be kind to yourself. All you can do is your best and your best is good enough. It’s impossible to please everyone, but we are often our own harshest critics.
  • Try not to get caught up in the anxious mind running away with various negative thoughts about a certain family member.
  • Taking breaks can also be helpful; find a quiet place for yourself and take some calming breaths — in through the nose, from the belly, out through the mouth.
  • Try to focus on gratitude for being together. Take a moment to reflect on what you’re thankful for regarding your family.  And, for those apart, try and arrange some sort of virtual gathering. 

Don’t let the holidays become something you dread. Instead, take steps to prevent the stress and depression that can descend during the holidays. Learn to recognize your holiday triggers, such as financial pressures or personal demands, so you can combat them before they lead to a meltdown. With a little planning and some positive thinking, you can find peace and joy during the holidays.

Love and light