The winter holidays are supposed to be a time of good cheer, where families gather together and celebrate. The reality is some people don’t get this warm fuzzy feeling when the season starts because the holidays are tense and exhausting. Below are practical tips to help you deal with stress and genuinely enjoy yourself.
Stick With Healthy Habits
It’s hard to take care of yourself in the middle of an indulgent holiday that promises late-night parties, plates of cookies and glasses of wine. You won’t be able to effectively cope with stress when you are feeling sluggish, sick or sleep-deprived.
When it comes to eating, try to have nutritious meals filled with vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. If you are hosting an event at your house, you can cook healthy holiday recipes like roasted Cornish game hen with pumpkin seed pesto and scoops of whole grain apple cranberry stuffing. Giving yourself nutritious food to eat during the holidays will make it easier to avoid high-calorie choices that you might regret the next day.
Think about limiting your intake from foods that can cause stress at home and when you go to events — the top four culprits are high-sodium foods, refined sugar, alcohol and caffeine. These are known to interfere with a good night’s rest, spike your blood sugar and send your energy crashing soon after. Sacrificing them entirely could make you feel dismal, so try to practice moderation and avoid them before your bedtime.
In addition to keeping up with healthy food habits, you should squeeze in a quick work-out — exercise relieves stress and improves your mood because of the sudden rush in endorphins. A brisk fifteen-minute walk around the neighborhood is enough to make you feel better.
Other healthy habits that you should try to maintain in the upcoming weeks:
- Get your essential hours of sleep
- Make time for relaxation
- Drink plenty of water
Set A Holiday Budget
Money can be the root cause of stress during the holidays since there is pressure to spend on gifts, decorations, food and parties. Instead of getting swept up in the shopping craze and seeing the shocking results on your bank statement at the end of the month, set a budget for yourself and try your best to stick to it.
It’s possible that an expensive problem crops up after you’ve spent the entirety of your budget. If it’s something that has to be dealt with immediately like a dental emergency or a burst pipe in your basement, you can turn to a company like MoneyKey for assistance. These are scenarios that can’t be ignored or go unpaid until you get your next check. Anyone who is going through something like this can visit their website to find out how to easily borrow money and get advance cash to skip over the extensive processes that come with traditional banks. Hassle-free installment loans can provide some fast relief when a problem shows up and money is tight. Budgeting for the season is important but saving for holiday items should never max out your credit and take every single dollar out of your account.
Prepare For Family Conflicts
The holidays can be stressful when you don’t get along with all of your family members, but you feel obligated to see them or invite them over to your parties. Even if nothing happens, you can spend a night holding your breath and waiting for the tension to break.
People who have to deal with difficult family members during the holidays can reduce their stress levels by preparing for encounters ahead of time — experts advise strategizing interactions before the event and lowering your expectations. They also recommend focusing on the positive, so that bad moments don’t sully your entire evening.
If the conflict is too much for you to cope, skip the family reunion in favor of an event that you will like. Invite close friends to celebrate the same tradition or try to make up a new one, like watching classic holiday movies together or dressing up in tacky Christmas sweaters.
It’s important to remember that you always have the power to back out of events, skip out on purchases and say no to activities. Piling up obligations will only leave you feeling overwhelmed or even miserable if you go through with them. Set boundaries well ahead of time, so that you can have the holiday that you deserve.