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It’s that time of year where you’re expected to host family, bake cookies, buy and wrap the perfect present, and travel all with a jolly smile. For some, the stress of the holidays can be overwhelming, but if you follow these tips, you can relax a little and enjoy yourself!

  1. Maintain a budget – For many, the most stressful part of the holiday season involves money. According to Forbes, 25% of adult Americans would prefer not to be part of the gift giving process, and it’s no wonder when the average person spends $920. If spending money brings you stress, consider gifting something homemade, spreading out your spending over the year, or even cutting names from your gift list. Don’t let the pressure of overdoing presents get to you. If you stick to your budget, money won’t be a cause of stress this year.
  2. Get outside – Winter gets a bad rap for the long hours of darkness and cold weather, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting outside to enjoy fresh air. Marian University reports that heading outdoors, even in the winter, provides the vitamin D vital to keeping your bones strong and diseases at bay. Seasonal depression is common around the holidays, but taking a walk outside can reignite positive thoughts and fight depression. The additional side effects of getting outdoors are better sleep, fewer hunger cravings, and a slightly higher rate of calorie burn since the body works harder to stay warm.
  3. Say no – During this season, you may be pulled in multiple directions, leading to some stress in your life. You might feel the need to have the idealistic holiday season with your family complete with gingerbread making competitions, Christmas shopping, and half a dozen parties in a short amount of time. Instead of saying yes to every invitation, remember to make time for yourself and your own needs. This also applies for when family comes to town. If entertaining your entire extended family in your own home leaves you feeling drained and stressed, see if there is another alternative. Maybe you can split hosting duties with someone else or chip in for the cost of a hotel room. Maintaining your regular schedule and habits keeps stress out of your life, so don’t feel guilty turning down offers to protect your sanity.
  4. Plan ahead – Travelling during the holidays can be stressful, but you can mitigate some of the struggle by planning ahead. Maybe you can book a flight during a lighter time for air travel (such as on Christmas day instead of Christmas Eve). Or splurge on a direct flight instead of a layover, and there will be less stress if your flight is delayed. Have your presents delivered to their final destination ahead of time and avoid extra baggage charges, damaged goods, and carrying heavy bags. Before leaving on a long road trip, get your oil changed and have a car tune-up.

While the holidays may inherently bring some stress into your life, remember to slow down and do what is best for you. The only way to find joy is to cultivate it yourself! Happy holidays from Audicus. 

By: Diana Ford

Sources: Forbes, Marian University