Stress seems to be a normal part of life these days. However,holiday stress adds a whole new dimension to what you usually feel. With allthe extra shopping, baking, decorating, and holiday events, it’s hard to findtime to relax. And if you work a job that is busier during the holiday season,your stress levels can be through the roof.

The holiday season is supposed to be enjoyable, right? “Tis the season to be jolly!” And there are certainly joyful things about the holidays – seeing family and friends, eating lots of good food, exchanging thoughtful gifts, and that sense of feeling renewed as the new year approaches.

How do you hold on to those good feelings and relieve yourself of stress throughout the season? Your experiences and gifts may bring fleeting happiness, yet true happiness comes from within. The kind of happiness that will get you through the holiday season.

Here are some simple tips to relieve stress and enjoy the holidays.

Make a Decision

Happiness comes from within, not anything external. Deciding that you’re going to be happy will help you hold on to that feeling much longer. Not only that, it will open you up to enjoying those special moments in a way you might not have otherwise done. In fact, not making the decision to be happy can make you miss special moments.

During times of holiday stress, you may find yourself needing to make the decision daily, or even several times a day. Yet it’s well worth the 10 seconds it will take you to say “I will be happy in this moment, no matter what.” The more you remind yourself of your decision to be happy, the more you’ll feel the stress fall away.

Savor the Moment

The more you allow yourself to be “in the moment” and savor the feeling of joy you have, the longer your happiness will linger. Holding on to these special moments allows your brain to make an emotional connection to them, creating a joyful memory.

Savor your happy moments by being in the moment and holding on to those feelings of joy for as long as possible. They’ll carry you through more stressful times.

Reclaim Your Focus

It can be hard to hold on to your feelings of joy when you’re overwhelmed by your schedule and your to-do list. The longer your list and the more events and appointments on your calendar, the more stressed you feel.

When this happens, it’s time for “time-out.” Yes, grown-ups need time-outs too. Sometimes, more often than kids. Taking a few moments to step away from the stress will help you regain your control and focus.

Use this time to do something you enjoy that fills you with peace. Enjoy a cup of tea, take a bubble bath, read a good book, do yoga. Doing so will help you calm down and refocus on what matters most, what the important tasks are, and what can wait.

Once you’ve taken a step back from the stress and found a way to relax, you can reorganize your thoughts and tasks to get yourself back on track. You can review your calendar and your to-do list so that you can make a plan for how you will accomplish what you need to do. You’ll be able to see your list with fresh eyes and a clearer mind, allowing you to put yourself back in control.

Regain Control

Feeling out of control with everything that needs to be done can cause a debilitating amount of stress. Not everything can be controlled. You are not able to control when your town hosts a holiday event you want to attend or a store’s hours for holiday shopping. Yet finding something you can control will reduce the stress you’re feeling.

Are you feeling stressed because your gifts haven’t been wrapped, your baking hasn’t been done, and you still need to decorate your tree? Make decisions on these tasks that put you back in control. Reduce your list of baked goods and who you will send them to. Opt for more simple decorations and forego the tree for one year. Turn your guest room or dining room into a gift wrap station where you can lay out wrapping paper, tape, scissors, and bows. Wrap each gift as you get it or take a few minutes each day to wrap one or two gifts. If you don’t have to do it all at once, it won’t feel overwhelming.

Practice Gratitude

If you have food on the table, money in the bank, and a roof over your head, you are blessed. If you can afford to give your family the gifts they want, you are able to make time to spend with family and friends, and you can plan a holiday feast, you are incredibly blessed. Don’t take it for granted.

Remembering your good fortune and reflecting on your blessings will bring you back to a place of joy in the midst of holiday stress. Sometimes, reminding yourself of the reasons for your stress can help you feel more blessed.

Are you working too many hours? You have a job and you are making the money you need to take care of your family. Are there too many gifts to buy? You are blessed with a large family and lots of friends that you love. Are you feeling stressed because you’re putting on holiday weight? You have plenty of food to eat and will not go hungry a single night.

Spend just one minute each day thinking of three things that you’re grateful for throughout this stressful holiday season. It will give you a new perspective.

Be Generous

Giving provides so much more joy than getting. If you have an impulse to be generous, don’t ignore it, act on it. You’ll notice yourself feeling an instant boost of happiness. It will make you feel good to make someone else’s day without any expectations in return.

Being generous doesn’t have to mean financially. Open a door, pay someone a genuine compliment, or offer to let someone else go inline before you. Or make a small financial gift by paying the toll for the car behind you, paying for coffee for the next person in line, giving a child a dollar to buy something they want.

Spend Time in Nature

Connecting with nature helps to bring calm to your feelings of stress. And daylight will produce some feel-good serotonin. Winter brings about feelings of sadness, and even depression, from the lack of sunlight our bodies receive. Boost your happiness by getting outside or at least sitting near a window on a sunny day.

Get Plenty of Sleep

Not getting enough sleep can make you irritable and increase your stress levels. You can easily reduce your stress by ensuring you get plenty of good sleep at night. Start unwinding an hour before bed with some gentle yoga, a good book, or a hot bath. Turn off the TV and move any electronics out of your bedroom, or at least place them in airplane mode. If you have trouble getting to sleep, take a small dose of melatonin, a hormone your body makes naturally and will help you to fall asleep without waking up groggy.

Use Pressure

Squeeze the fleshy skin between your thumb and index finger for 30 seconds. It’s a practice used in traditional Chinese medicine to reduce stress and anxiety. When you feel your stress levels increasing, give your hand a squeeze and take a deep breath. You’ll feel calmer almost instantly.

Stick to Your Routine

Changing up your routine, even temporarily, can through your body and mind off-balance, creating stress. Wake at your normal time and enjoy your normal morning routine. If you exercise in the morning, don’t sacrifice that. It will help get you through the day.

By sticking to as much of your normal routine as possible and fitting everything else in around it, you’ll feel more in control and less stressed.

Eat Well

It’s true what they say, “you are what you eat.” Of course, there will be holiday treats and big meals to enjoy, however, if you eat healthier whenever possible it will help your body and mind stay positive, focused, and happy. And you won’t feel guilty about your splurges.

Enjoying lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and getting plenty of water will not only keep you from adding on holiday pounds, it will effortlessly boost your mood.

The holiday season is naturally stressful. There are so many things to do, places to go, and people to see. And all within a short period of time. Remembering that it’s only for a few weeks and you’ll soon be back to normal will help you breeze through it.

Hold a good thought about all the wonderful things the holiday season holds and release any negative thoughts as quickly as possible. Make a decision, as often as you need to, to be happy and joyful this season. And remember to take some down time for yourself. Holiday stress won’t get to you if you remain in control of your thoughts and actions during this time of year.

Ready to get moving and shaking in the New Year call for a FREE exploratory session to see how I can help you reduce the stress and achieve all your hopes and dreams in the new year 970-682-4405.