The holidays are typically a time of joy, but they can also be quite stressful. I have recently found myself getting caught up in all the demands of the festive season, from the cooking, cleaning and even the shopping. The pandemic has also changed how we celebrate around the world which may be for some people an additional unexpected stressful situation. Not being able to be in the presence of our loved ones can be incredibly challenging for some.
Here are 5 simple ways to reduce your stress over the holidays:
Acknowledge Your Feelings
Although the holidays are usually associated with being happy, there are many people who feel incredibly stressed, sadness or grief during this time as well. It is OK to feel sad instead of forcing oneself to feel happy just for the sake of the season. I know that I always feel some sadness around this time as I do not have my parents around anymore. There are many people that I miss. I sometimes find that taking a moment to acknowledge these feelings helps relieve a bit of the stress, whether by crying or simply talking to someone about how I feel.
Sometimes, people have expectations around how things “should “be and end up getting stressed out when things do not go as planned. The holidays are quite different this year for many because of the pandemic. This is a real example of things being hugely different. It is sometimes helpful to realize that people and traditions may change over time, regardless of whether there is a pandemic or not. Accepting that we may not be spending the holidays with family and friends or that certain traditions may no longer be kept could help ease the stress of trying to make everything “perfect.” I personally try not to have the same expectations every year.
Spend Time with Others
Talking about your stress or feelings with someone can help enormously. You can also be there as a support for other people. Become a “mindful listener”.
Sometimes, stress can make people lose their focus on the things that truly matter. Mindfulness in my experience is immensely powerful and can help us become aware of when we get triggered. We can learn to change how we respond in different stressful situations. We can also learn to respond with kindness when dealing with people who are also stressed. Finding ways to make stressful situations more pleasant by paying someone a simple compliment or performing a simple act of kindness can also do wonders.
Many of us indulge at this time of year and later regret our actions. Maybe it is too much chocolate or too much turkey. Self-Care is especially important. If we have some control over our habits this can help alleviate the stress that we can feel even after the holidays are over. Simple things like following a healthy diet, getting some exercise, and making sure that you get enough sleep will help.
Remember that many people experience stress during the holidays. It is very normal. By being aware of the things that stress us out during the holidays and practicing simple ways of managing them will help us find new ways to enjoy this time of year.
For more information on mindfulness meditation, managing stress, developing a positive mindset, and learning to manage emotions, visit: www.mindbodyenergy.com.au