It’s the most wonderful time of the year…right? The holiday season is supposed to be a joyful occasion, but it seems to get more and more stressful every year. Between shopping for gifts, attending parties and handling the pressure of lots of houseguests, it’s easy to forget what the holidays are really about.
Lucky for The Daily Quirk readers, Colin Christopher has suggest a handful of ways to make this time of year less stressful and more enjoyable. Christopher is a clinical hypnotherapist certified by the American Council of Hypnotist Examiners and author of Success Through Manipulation. Check out his top seven tips to reduce all the stress that surrounds the holidays.
Get It Done
If you don’t enjoy holiday shopping, it might be tempting to put it off until the last minute. According to Christopher, avoiding this temptation and planning ahead is crucial. “You can reduce stress with a little bit of planning and getting an early start,” he says. Procrastination is the key to added holiday stress, so get the necessary holiday chores out of the way as soon as possible.
It’s easy to want to RSVP ‘yes’ to every holiday party you’re invited to, but Christopher advises to be selective with your time. Scheduling a different party every night of the week in December will quickly overwhelm you. “If you have a hard time telling people ‘no,’ you’re going to find yourself overcommitted, tired, unable to do the things you really want to do and stressed out,” he says. “It’s ok to say ‘no’ if you don’t want to do something or don’t have the time to do it.”
Most of us make the holidays so much about others that we neglect ourselves completely. While it is important to give back, you shouldn’t forget to take a few moments for yourself as well. Christopher suggests taking as little as 20 to 30 minutes each day to do something you enjoy. This will refresh you, relieve stress and help you enjoy the holidays.
Get More Sleep
Getting a full eight hours is important all year round, but can be especially helpful during the holiday season. Christopher says that people tend to neglect getting enough rest due to travel and just the excitement and stress of the holidays in general. “Make sleep a priority during the holidays and you’ll enjoy the season more,” he suggests.
Sometimes the stress gets to be a bit too much, and if this happens, try some breathing exercises to instantly calm you. Christopher has some great breathing techniques to reduce your stress levels instantly. “If you’re feeling overly anxious or stressed, take a few minutes to slow your breathing down,” he says. “Breathe in through your diaphragm (stomach area), hold for a few seconds, and slowly release through your mouth.”
Take a step back
With all the stress and pressures of the holidays, it’s too easy to forget what’s really important. Christopher points out that we tend to get so caught up in the moment that it’s over before we know it. He suggests taking a step back and enjoying the time with family. “You’ll naturally feel less stressed and more satisfied when you are thankful for everything around you,” he says.
Keep realistic expectations
The holiday season is filled with pressure between shopping, traveling, cooking and hosting. It’s easy to feel like we have to do it all. Christopher says that a lot of people have too high of expectations for the holidays. “They picture everything playing out in a specific way,” he says, “and find themselves disappointed and stressed out when things don’t go according to plan.” He suggests lowering your expectations a bit and just let life happen. You’ll feel less stressed and have more fun.
With those tips, we’re feeling more relaxed already. While we can’t guarantee the holidays will breeze by without a single worry, these tips will help stop any serious frown lines from taking a permanent spot on your forehead. We recommend keeping them bookmarked to look back on the next time you’re waiting in an hour-long line at the post office or cooking a five-course holiday meal for the whole family.