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As great as the holidays are, they can also bring some unwelcome guests – stress and loneliness. In fact, 8 out of 10 people anticipate increased stress over the holidays.

How to Minimize Holiday Stress

We often lose patience with our meddling relatives or get worried about how much we are going to spend on Christmas presents this year. While it can be overwhelming at times, the great thing about holiday stress is that we know when it will begin and end.

But we can make plans to reduce the amount of stress we experience and the negative imapct is has on our health. To help you have a happy and healthy holiday season, here are 9 tips to help reduce that holiday stress!

Plan Ahead: To Do List

Plan Ahead

Putting your plans on paper can give you a sense for how to better manage your time. The sooner you get started, the less stress you will have when Christmas comes. Make sure to set aside specific days for shopping, cooking, or visiting friends.

Make sure to plan your meals or gift list ahead of time so you don’t have to make multiple trips to the mall or grocery store.

Take Time For Yourself

Take Time to Treat Yourself

Between the shopping, planning, and constant family activities, there will be days that you feel physically and emotionally drained. It’s important to enjoy some self-care everyday, even if it’s just 15 minutes.

Choose activities you enjoy like exercising, taking a hot bathe, or listening to some soothing music to unwind when you are feeling stressed. Or really treat yourself and schedule a trip to the day spa or romantic date night (you’ll probably need it).

Set Financial Budget

Set a Budget & Stick to It

Holidays are expensive. Between buying gifts and food for parties, you may be feeling overwhelmed on how much you are going to be spending over the next month. To help prevent this, review your finances and set a budget that won’t leave you in debt.

If you are really worried about your finances, get creative with your holiday gifts. You can offer to do someone’s dreaded errands, watch your friend’s child for the weekend, or give homemade gifts. These types of presents are usually a lot more personal and appreciated!

Share Holiday Tasks

Share Your Responsibilities

Don’t take on everything yourself. Write a “to-do” list and pick the tasks that you think only you can do right. Then get your family involved and delegate the rest of the tasks. Let them decorate the house or prepare the holiday meal this year.

Say No to Activities

It's OK to Say NO

If you agree to go to every holiday party or parade, you will be sure to be burnt out before Christmas even arrives. Saying no to events that are not as important will allow you to say yes to ones that actually mean the most to you.

It might be tough to say you need a night off but your friends and family will understand. Tell them that you will get together with them after the holiday season is over.

Healthy Holidays

Don't Abandon Healthy Habits

It’s easy to forget about all of your health goals when you are extremely busy. This will only lead to more stress and guilt once the holidays are over.

Exercise: One of the best ways to overcome stress during the holidays is exercising regularly. This will not only boost your energy levels but will also improve your mood.

Sleep: Make sure to shoot for 7-8 hours of restful sleep every night so your body can recover and not put you on edge the following day.

Eating and Drinking: It’s important to enjoy holiday events but you can do it without overindulging on rich deserts and sugary alcohol. Try to limit how much you eat and drink or choose one or two parties where you fully indulge on all your holiday favorites.

Family Holidays

Spending Time (Or Taking a Break) From Loved Ones

The holidays are meant for taking time to get close with family and friends. Studies show that kissing, hugging, or cuddling can physically reduce our stress levels. Even just talking to someone on the phone can make a world of difference.

Being in close quarters with your family members for a long time can also cause you to reach your boiling point. Remember to pick your battles and not let little things get under your skin. Or set limitations for how long you can be around them and find some time to take a break.

Volunteer

Be Generous 

At the end of the day, this is really what the season is about. It’s a time to let our loved ones know how much we care about them or volunteer for those less fortunate.

Giving back also can have a direct impact on your life. When you see how happy or grateful people are for your actions, it can help improve your mood and put things our own life into perspective.

Loneliness

Dealing With Loneliness

While the holidays are a happy time for most people, it can also be tough for those of you who don’t have as many loved ones or experience Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Instead of focusing on what you don’t have, focus on what you do have. Cherish the people that you do have in your life or invite a group friends to your home. If you are still suffering from depression, reach out to someone you know or ask a medical professional for help.

And if you know someone who may be lonely during the holidays, invite him or her to be apart of your holiday tradition.

Take Control of the Holidays

Think back to last year and try to remember what led to you feeling burnt out or overly stressed. Once you recognize triggers like relationships with certain family members or your financial pressures, you can create a plan to take back your holidays. Merry Christmas!

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