Ah, the holidays. The most wonderfully stressful time of the year for many people. Spending money, spending time with people you don't always get along with, spending hours on December 24th frantically wrapping and organizing gifts...
It's enough to make any mama a little crazy.
But it doesn't have to be that way. Here are my top tips for staying sane and stress-free (as possible) during the holidays.
1. Choose Again
This is the simplest item on your list but, arguably, the most important for the holidays and any other time of the year. It is also the most challenging to accomplish and does require self-awareness and practice; however, if you can put this into action you will change your entire life.
Don't like the way you're feeling? Choose again. Don't love the way you're arguing with your husband? Choose to focus on something you love about him. Don't enjoy the stress of watching your kids destroy your perfectly clean living room 12 minutes before your in-laws arrive? Choose to shift your perspective and be thankful for the house, the kids, the family, even the mess.
Change from frustrated to fascinated.
Change from stressed to grateful.
Change from a frantic cleaning hot mess mama to someone who knows that she is blessed beyond belief.
2. Frankincense - A Stress-Relieving Gift from the Wise Men
Essential oils are naturally occurring compounds found in the seeds, bark, stems, roots, flowers, and other parts of plants. They have been around for centuries, dating back to the Biblical days when the wisemen anointed Jesus with frankincense and myrrh when he was born.
Well, here's a fun fact for you - frankincense is great for treating depression and anxiety because it provides a calming and tranquil energy! So, bust out your essential oils and diffuser and give yourself the gift of stress-relief.
3. Eat Right
Christmas cookies and gravy and eggnog, oh my!
Yes, the holidays are filled with tasty treats that can make you feel like crap if you over-indulge. Now, I don't believe in diets or restrictions or making yourself miserable; however, you know yourself. If you can feel amazing after eating 17 gingersnap cookies and drinking 2 bottles of wine while wrapping presents... more power to you.
Me? Not so much - too much of the bad stuff increases my stress. Eating right for ME, on the other hand, helps me to stay sane. So, eat a healthy breakfast (most days). Keep healthy snacks on hand that make you feel good. Eat what you want and eat what makes YOU feel good.
4. Find Some Alone Time
Now, I'm not talking about 3am when you're wrapping presents while your spouse is soundly asleep ... that's just resentment, anger, and justifiable homicide waiting to happen. (I'm kidding, I'm kidding.)
I'm talking taking a bath, reading a book, or going to Starbucks and people-watching for an hour. Ignore the obligations for a brief period of time and you will be better equipped to deal with the stressful situations that arise.
Ugh, like who has time to work out with a ridiculously long holiday to-do list?! You do.
All it takes is 30 minutes. Mama, c'mon - that's like 2% of your day. And if 2% of your day can make you feel less stressed and just all-around AH-MAZING, why wouldn't you take that chance?
If you go to the gym, you'll probably have the space to yourself since everyone else is running around like a crazy person. Personally, I prefer to stream my workouts at home with Beachbody on Demand and workout in my basement to avoid the snowy commute. It's whatever works for you, my friend. Find the time, relieve your stress.
6. Get Some Freakin' Rest
I know, you're thinking, "Ok, first you want me to get some alone time, then you're telling me to find time to exercise, and now you're talking to me about SLEEP?!"
Yes. Yes, I am.
When you're exhausted, you're not at your best. You can't be the best partner, the best mom, the best friend or family member. Commit to going to bed at a certain time, track your sleep if you need to, and don't wear yourself out. You deserve better than that.
7. Make Magic Out of the Mundane
When my husband and I got married, in my vows I made a promise to "always make magic out of the mundane" with him. And what better time to stay committed to your partner and demonstrate your love than the holidays?!
So, dance and goof around in the crowded Costco. Have a wrapping paper roll sword fight. Turn the living room into a Christmas Eve, present-wrapping picnic.
You can always, always, always, find the good, the fun, the magic, if you look hard enough.
8. Just Because You CAN Do it All Doesn't Mean You Should
I'm talking about outsourcing, mama. Embrace imperfection and look for ways to do less so that you can enjoy more. I shared my 5 favourite things to outsource recently; read them here and don't be afraid to hire someone to come clean for a couple hours.
So, how do you manage stress during the holidays? I'd love to hear your tips!