The holidays are supposed to be a meaningful and festive time of fellowship with family and friends, but if your overwhelming feeling is anxiety instead of excitement, you’re not alone. According to a poll by the American Psychological Association, 38% of people said their stress level rockets up during the holidays. (The APA even has an entire section of its website dedicated to coping with holiday stress.
Whether it’s finishing up 2019 work projects or managing a plethora of family and friend obligations, we can all find ourselves wishing for relief from December’s madness. Combat the stress with these six tips for slowing down and savoring the season:
Don’t overcommit. Attending every holiday party, buying presents for a growing list of friends and family, or entertaining too many house guests can cause anyone to feel overwhelmed. Take another look at your “must-do” list and ask yourself if you can put off some of those tasks until after the holidays. It’s OK to say no sometimes—especially if it’s an event that conflicts with family time or is on a night you need to recharge and relax.
Disconnect from the digital. Once you leave the office for home, try to spend the night unplugged: from your smartphone or tablet, from email and social media, and even from the TV. Read a book, pen a handwritten letter, or play a board game with family members. Once you do reconnect with your computer, you’ll feel more ready solve problems with fresh eyes.
Boost your mood with movement. Despite the festive atmosphere on every corner, the holidays can take an emotional toll. Fight back with exercise, which stimulates the release of endorphins and acts as a natural stress reliever. Challenge yourself to spend 30 minutes at the gym a few times a week or take a brisk walk during your lunchbreak at a nearby park. Time outside offers an added bonus: It increase your overall energy level, according to a study from the University of Rochester.
Slow down for reflection. Invite friends over for a meal that you cook together, whether that’s a pot of chili or homemade pizza. Quiz your guests on their top 10 lists of movies, music, books and TV shows of 2019. Linger over the meal, reflecting on the lessons you’ve learned over the course of the year and setting a vision for the new one.
Experiment with “experience” gifts. Instead of driving around town—or looking on multiple online sites—for the perfect gift for loved ones, consider a different kind of gift this year: the gift of an experience. For the sports nut, snag a seat at a pro basketball, hockey or baseball game he or she can enjoy in the new year. For the music fan, find out where their favorite artist is performing, and grab a ticket to a future show. If you live in a different city than your recipient, donate in their name to worthy local cause, such as a food bank, veterans’ home or children’s charity.
Get creative with the calendar. December is jam-packed with soirees, while the bleak winter months of January and February can feel like a social wasteland. Why not beat the post-holiday blues by moving your party to January?
From all of us at GAFFEY Healthcare to all of yours, we wish you much joy and peace this holiday season and happiness and prosperity in the new year!