A Prelude to the Holiday Season: 5 Tips to Minimize the Stress

ImageWell, here we go already!  I think practicing gratitude on a regular basis is good for your mental health and, with Thanksgiving here this week, now is a good time to double up (chanting to yourself over and over what you’re grateful for).  Depending on your circumstances, the holidays can trigger a variety of emotions.  Memories from years past, stress about “to-do” lists, concerns about encountering family members you may prefer to avoid, etc. etc.  Here are a few tips to begin managing the stress that may come with the season:

1. Don’t be trapped by tradition.  If you find yourself dreading the holiday season, you may want to consider doing something different this year for your own well-being.  Reclaiming the peace and joy –  that the holidays are meant to bring –  is worth the discomfort of change. 

2. Be aware of your intentions.  Do you truly enjoy the process of entertaining?  Most people will enjoy being around you if you are enjoying yourself.  If you’re trying too hard to please or impress others, you and everyone else will likely be disappointed and feeling empty.

3.  If you’re alone for the holidays, you may want to volunteer at a shelter or reach out to a community of caring people.  If you’re alone by choice, don’t feel pressured to socialize if you truly don’t want to.  But also consider that sometimes, when you step outside your comfort zone, you may find yourself enjoying it.  Give yourself an out so you can leave if it doesn’t turn out to be a good situation for you.

4.  Watch out for all the sugar!  I know, I know, it’s the holidays, yet it’s more important than ever to be cautious, since sugar can throw your mood out of whack with the glycemic ups and downs in your bloodstream.  Make sure you’re getting protein every 2 – 3 hours to feed your neurotransmitters and keep your blood sugar in balance to prevent sugar cravings. Try experimenting with different types of sweeteners like stevia and xylitol that are low glycemic.  Artificial sweeteners are NOT good substitutes.  When a recipe calls for sugar, you can actually cut the amount in half and still enjoy your dessert (this is what they do in French bakeries).

5.  Remember to appeal to your five senses for uplifting or calming your mood.  Think pine needles, cinnamon spice, vanilla, chocolate, peppermint, citrus, candle flames, fire places, colored lights, unique decorations, fuzzy slippers and robes, warm baths, lotions, and, of course, don’t forget music!

What are your plans for the holiday season?

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9 thoughts on “A Prelude to the Holiday Season: 5 Tips to Minimize the Stress

  1. Linda Leaf

    I’m super broke this year. So what I did for my kid’s gifts is… I had 70 year old photos taken at Sears. The photographer liked me so she gave me a terrific deal on the photos. I’ll frame them and I think they’ll like them. I did the same thing when I was 50. If I’m still around, I’ll do 80. I usually go all out for Christmas gifts, but I’m kinda happy that I’m so broke this year. I’m really excited. The only thing that would make Christmas better would be to have Sara and Janette here. But… if wishes were fishes…..

    Reply
      1. Linda Leaf

        I would hate not having my family here for Christmas. At least I have a lot of family, so hopefully it will be ok without Sara and Janette. I’ll be just fine, but I’ll bet she will be missing us!! She loves family activities as much as the rest of us. Maybe… maybe. Too much to hope for??

        Reply

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