December 12, 2013

Therapy Thursday: How To De-stress and Start Enjoying The Holidays

The holidays are supposed to be the best time of the year and also the most stressful.  We spend all our time worrying about who we need to buy a gift for and how we can make our Christmas dinner even better than last year.  I think people have such high expectations for everything to be perfect during the holidays.  In our pursuit of this perfection we take on way too much making us stressed and anxious.
The simple solution to this scenario is to take on less during the season but I live in reality and realize this is very hard to do even if you really want to. So how does one de-stress this time of year during all of the shopping, parties, and other holiday events? The best thing to do is take a quick break to allow yourself to relax and refocus.  I know what you are thinking, easier said than done right?  I know it is tough but I have come up with a few tips and tricks to help you relax and start enjoying the best time of the year.

Be in the Moment

Everyone multi-tasks, some better than others. We have become so acustome to it we don't even realize we are doing it and I think we tend to lie to ourselves about how much stress it really causes us. Here is your holiday challenge to deal with this this stress: Choose one task to focus all your attention on and drop everything else.  Whatever you choose, wether it be wrapping presents, making a holiday playlist (music helps relieve stress), mixing up a batch of cookies, or simply decorating the tree; be in the moment and stay focused on that one task.  Let it envelop you, enjoy it, and most importantly be in that moment and do not take on anything else until you have finished the task at hand.

Limit your Holiday Spending

Set some limits on your holiday spending.  We all want to spoil those closest to us during the holidays but it may actually leave you feeling resentful or worried about your finances.  Instead of buying a ton of gifts, stick to one big gift and set a limit on the amount you are going to spend.

Take Care of Yourself

Try your best to do everything you can to promote physical wellbeing; exercise regularly; cut down on caffine, booze, and sugar; get plenty of sleep or at least enough sleep; eat healthy foods...etc...This will help your body relax and de-stress.

Learn from your Mistakes

Think about what has worked for you on previous holidays.  What traditions were the most fun and relaxing vs ones that caused un needed stress and anxiety? Use your answers to create a calmer atmosphere this year.

Lighten up on the Entertainment

Limit how many people you invite to your holiday soiree and if you simply must invite everyone you know, have each person bring a dish so you don't get stuck with all the cooking and you can enjoy the party too.

Take a few deep breaths and remember to have fun and enjoy your holiday season.  Spend time with loved ones and learn to relax a bit because nothing is perfect and it is lifes' imperfections that mean the most.

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