7 Keys to Avoid Holiday Stress – Holidays are some of the most beautiful but stressful times of the year.
My family’s yearly Eid celebration is full of reflection, gratitude, and time spent together. It also involves a LOT of food prep, hosting family, and takes energy to plan.
For many, the holidays present difficult family dynamics along with the inevitable stress from planning, prepping, and shopping.
These seven aspects of holiday preparation help me stay centered so that I can enjoy all of the good moments without getting caught up in overwhelm.
1. Remember self-care
Very often, we are so busy thinking about what to do for everyone else that we forget to take care of ourselves. This is especially true for women. Caring for ourselves means we have more to give to others when it matters. And communicating with those you are spending the holidays with about your needs is not overstepping.
When we let ourselves get run down, it is those around us who suffer as we lash out and lose sight of the spirit of the holidays. Set aside time for self-care, which can be as simple as a warm bath, short nap, haircut, or lunch with a friend, as long as it’s just for you.
2. Plan ahead
A little planning can go a long way in reducing stress during the holidays. Create a holiday shopping list, calendar, and budget to map out the gifts you’ll purchase, meals you’ll prepare, and any dates you need to keep in mind.
Don’t underestimate how helpful it can be to get all of this out of your head and onto a piece of paper or into the notes app on your phone! One great trick is to wrap your gifts as you purchase them so you don’t rush at the last minute.
3. Set boundaries
Boundaries are one of the most important ways to set your holidays up for joyful time spent together. While this may imply a necessary conversation with friends or family, setting effective boundaries with and for yourself can be easy.
For example, you can maintain a boundary around your food habits. When someone comments on what you’re eating, respectfully but firmly share, “My eating habits aren’t up for discussion,” and move on.
You can also create boundaries around potential triggers that would typically upset you. That cousin who only has critical words won’t get under your skin if you have a boundary in place to not take anything she says personally.
4. Make a list of your non-negotiables and communicate them clearly
Be aware of your non-negotiables. For some, this involves avoiding certain foods to feel their best. For others, it’s all about maintaining their routine.
You never need to apologize for maintaining habits that keep you centered. Feeling self-conscious while prioritizing health around the holidays is easy, which many see as a time to indulge.
There’s nothing wrong with a few special treats around the holidays, but there’s also nothing wrong with keeping to a list of foods you won’t eat, habits you won’t sacrifice, and routines that serve you, regardless of anyone else’s reaction.
The holidays are a special time when routines are often disrupted. Be mindful of the routines you need to stay stable so you don’t sacrifice your well-being.
We don’t have to be rigid to maintain a routine. It’s wise to allow for adjustments as needed so that you can keep up with your helpful routines without stress.
If you juice every morning (celery juice, cucumber juice, or another favorite), allow for a shift to juicing in the afternoon on days with a busy morning due to holiday plans or preparations.
If traveling to visit family, plan ahead by finding a local juice bar or consider bringing your juicer with you.
5. Observe challenging moments with grace –
There will be challenging moments, and that’s okay. Often those moments arise from not feeling seen or heard. Or from your boundaries not being respected.
Some of us struggle with sensitivity to strong perfumes, and when a family member is aware of this yet shows up wearing large amounts, it can feel like our needs have been ignored.
It’s best to stay calm in situations like this and have a recovery plan, like the Medical Medium ® toxic fragrances exposure shot or fresh cucumber juice.
“Plan for the worst and expect the best” is a mantra I live by.
6. Be mindful of your expectations
Allowing others to be who they are sets us free from unreasonable expectations. We’d all love to snap our fingers and remove our mothers’ tendency to comment on our weight. We can’t change others; we can only control how we react.
It’s important not to need others to change in order for us to have peace. Be mindful of your expectations of yourself, too – don’t set the bar so high that you will inevitably fall short.
7. Practice gratitude
This is my personal favorite! Practicing gratitude daily has a multitude of proven benefits. While in gratitude, our stress levels reduce immediately; our nervous systems relax, and our perspectives change. You cannot be angry and grateful simultaneously – allow gratitude to take a stronger hold.
Try to practice being grateful for everything, no matter how inconsequential it may seem, even for difficult moments. Appreciating an aspect of a friend or family member who typically challenges you might open a door to a whole new chapter in your relationship!
When we use intention and planning, the holidays get much easier.
It’s so easy to fall into the stress trap as we rush around making everything “perfect.”
Instead, we can take each day as it comes while doing our best and savoring every beautiful moment along the way.
Connect with Muneeza: http://www.muneezaahmed.com/links
Get Muneeza’s 7-Day Stress Accountability Checklist.
More articles from our VIP Executive Contributor Muneeza Ahmed.