Now’s the time to try to stress less!
November has arrived. Sports have slowed down or stopped altogether, the kids are finally in a good routine with school, and you’ve pulled out the tote of flannels to hang up in your closet.
Then reality hits. The holiday season is here. 🤦🏻♀️
The most wonderful time of the year can easily be the most stressful. It’s crazy busy with Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s.
As kids, the holiday season was magical! The traditions, the food, the warmth. But the truth is, someone created that for you. And now, that “someone” is you, creating the traditions and memories for your family.
It’s A LOT of pressure.
So many expectations. The reality is – you’re just trying to stay sane and not burn the turkey.
Then comes the comparison game. It’s easy to get caught up in the comparison trap. Watching others that seem to have it all together. You find yourself adding to your to-do list and eventually you’re crying in the grocery aisle because you can’t find pumpkin puree.
Yep… I went there. Because it happens.
We’ve rounded up the best ways to ditch the stress and enjoy every moment of your holidays!
1. Let Go of Expectations
Let the holidays be simple. I promise they won’t lose any of their magic. Keeping things simple helps you to focus on what’s important to you and your family.
Next, try to remind yourself what the holiday season is all about.
Are your expectations setting you up for disappointment? Don’t allow perfectionism to rule. Be realistic and give yourself grace.
2. Enjoy the Outdoors
Have you ever noticed the link between a stressful day and whether or not you were able to get outside and enjoy the fresh air?
Spending time in nature can improve your mood, boost positivity, and relieve stress. There’s even science-backed evidence to prove it!
- Increases vitamin D levels
- Improves concentration & focus
- Lessens anxiety
- Strengthens your immune system
- Improves sleep
So whether it’s a simple walk in the neighborhood, or reading a book with a hot cup of tea on the front porch… carve out a little time each day to take a breath of fresh air.
3. Unplug as a Family
It’s easy to lose out on the small moments when someone has a screen in front of their face. Fingers clicking away, not paying attention to what matters most. The next thing you know they're crawling into bed and you realize their friends via text have had more interaction with them than you.
So unplug as a family! Put devices away or have designated times of the day for everyone to check messages and respond. They may not be on board at first, but that’s ok. You know what’s best!
Make all the little moments count as a family. Even if it’s just cranking up the music while you bake together, or telling silly stories. Get everyone involved and you’ll grow closer in no time.
4. Meal Plan
We already know that meal planning all year long helps keep everything running smoothly. It helps you prepare for busy nights (hello crockpot meals), keep your budget in check, and not have to run to the store every day for one or two things. Who has time for that?
It’s even more important to meal plan during the holidays. I don’t know about you, but the last thing you want is to be in those long checkout lines just because you need a stick of butter.
Plan out your meals at least a week in advance. Your holiday feasts? Plan them now! The sooner the better. Hit the store at less busy times, such as a weekday about 1-2 hours before close or the first thing in the morning! Try to avoid the weekends, it’s a madhouse.
5. Make a Budget… and Stick To It
If you’re like me, nothing makes you more stressed than money. That’s most of us though, right? There’s so much to buy over the holidays. Extra food, pantry staples you’ve been out of for months, gifts, decor, costumes… the list is endless. It seems like every day you’re throwing more and more money at the holiday chaos.
Don’t let money steal your joy! Preparation is key! Make a budget for gifts, food, and extra expenses that you know are coming (pumpkin patch, Christmas tree farm, etc).
Then stick to it! Once you’ve hit your budget on a family member’s gifts, you’re done. Remind yourself what the holiday season is really about. Hint: it’s not about the number of gifts under the tree!
6. Wrap as You Go
You know the scene all too well. It’s Christmas Eve, you’ve FINALLY gotten everyone in their beds and doors closed, so you can start wrapping. You start pulling the gifts out into a pile and realize, “Holy crap, what have I done?”
Yup, I’m right there with you. The trick to not staying up all night wrapping gifts is to… wrap as you go!
Picked up a few gifts today? Great, jot done each gift and who it’s for. Then get wrapping! Just give it a simple checkmark to stay organized on what’s been wrapped. Easy as pie! Once you’ve put the kids to bed on Christmas Eve, you can enjoy a few cookies and maybe a glass of wine (or two... I'm not judging).
7. Keep Extra Gifts on Hand
There’s nothing worse than someone unexpectedly giving you a gift and realizing you don’t have anything for them! Take away the pressure and stress by keeping extra gifts on hand.
Stock up on a few of your favorites – candles, books, journals, earrings, or anything else that catches your eye as a great gift for a friend. Even elderberry syrup makes a thoughtful gift, especially for teachers! Fill a basket with these gifts, gift bags, and tissue paper so you’re all set in a pinch!
Another great idea is to make holiday goodies early – like cookies, fudge, energy balls, or even homemade cough drops and keep them in the freezer. Pull them out as needed to create the perfect holiday goodie boxes!
8. Know When To Say No
This right here is a real struggle. Who wants to say no, especially around the holidays? But let me tell you this, it might be hard at first but it’s a necessity.
Saying yes when you should be saying no just leads to anxiety and a sense of overwhelm. Your friends and family will understand if you can’t be at every party. Or if you can’t babysit because your schedule is too packed.
Saying no gives you control of your schedule and your family’s. So don’t be guilted into anything. Do what’s best for you and your mental health.
9. Ask For Help
You weren’t meant to run everything on your own! When you have a family, you work together as a family. Everyone chips in, and it’s great for your kids to learn that early on in life.
Is your to-do list not getting done today? Don’t keep quiet and rush to get it all done. Ask for help. Send your spouse a quick text asking if they can pick up a few things from the store on their way home.
Get the kids involved! Delegate some chores to help you stay on top of yours. Even if they get an attitude, remind yourself that this is character building!
10. Make Time for You
You have to! How can you take care of everyone else if you aren’t taking care of yourself? That’s just a meltdown waiting to happen, and you know it.
Take 15 minutes if that’s all you can get. Take a hot bath with lavender essential oils, listen to music and rest your mind, make your favorite treat, and don’t share… I’m not judging.
So this holiday season… make time for yourself. Refresh, take deep breaths, and replenish your mind and soul. Your family wants to see you happy and healthy.
11. Focus On What’s Important
When it’s all said and done, you want to look back and cherish your holiday memories. You want to know that you stressed less and enjoyed the season with your family.
Doing it all, and doing it all perfectly is not what’s important. You can put so much pressure on yourself that it strips you of joy.
Focus on what’s important! Family time, snuggles on the couch with hot chocolate, sharing and laughing while you bake together. That is what matters. Nothing can even come close by comparison.
12. Have Some Fun!
This is what the holiday season is all about! Think about what makes you and your family happy during the holidays, and carve out that time. Be intentional.
Be silly, smile, laugh, and most importantly… have fun!
Don’t let the holidays turn into a time of year you dread. Instead, take these simple steps to reduce the stress and get ready for some holiday cheer!
Getting sick can also ruin the holidays. That’s why my family takes a daily dose of elderberry syrup. With elderberry syrup, you’re boosting your immune system and keeping you and your family happy and healthy this season. Get it HERE!