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15: 5 Tips to Reduce Stress During the Holidays
Episode 1521st November 2023 • Great Sex Podcast • Heather England
00:00:00 00:10:37

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It's the holidays! On top of everything else on your to-do list, there's shopping, cooking, cleaning, decorating the house, spending money, and being extra nice to Aunt Ethel at your family get-together. You guessed it, it’s holiday time! It’s the start of the holiday season and for many people, that means family gatherings, lots of demands, social comparison, and high stress. 

Today, I want to share 5 tips to help you enjoy your holiday season and minimize the amount of stress you feel.

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that for many people, the holidays can exacerbate their loneliness and grief for loved ones they’ve lost. Although the holidays are filled with joy, they can also be super stressful. It’s easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to others and trying to be perfect. That right there is a recipe for anxiety. I want to share 5 strategies that can help you minimize stress and enjoy this wonderful time of the year.

1. Don't Do Social Comparison

It's easy to fall into the trap of comparing our holiday experiences to those we see on social media. We are bombarded with images of the perfect houses, the perfect decorations, the perfect turkeys, and the perfect families sitting around the table. And if that wasn’t bad enough, when you open social media, you often see posts from someone you know who is jetting off to a beach vacation. It’s easy to be jealous.

Remember Teddy Roosevelt's famous quote: Comparison is the thief of joy.

Instead of focusing on what others are doing, reflect on what brings you and your loved ones joy. Embrace the beauty of your traditions and create memories that resonate with your values.

2. Set Boundaries and Limits

The holidays often come with invitations, events, and commitments that can be overwhelming. It's okay to set boundaries and limits. Setting boundaries teaches people how to treat you and helps you to take care of yourself. Whenever anyone asks me to do something or commit to something that will require extra work, I take a pause and say, “Let me think about that and get back to you.” That way, I’m not on the spot feeling pressure to overcommit and I can truly think through everything.

Prioritize the events that truly matter to you and your loved ones. Learn to gracefully decline invitations and understand that saying 'no' is a form of self-care, allowing you to fully enjoy the moments you choose to participate in.

3. Delegate

You don't have to carry the holiday load alone. You can delegate tasks and responsibilities to family members or friends. Whether it's meal preparation, decorating, or planning activities, involving others not only lightens your load but also creates a sense of shared joy and connection.

I struggle with this, partly because I have more time than my adult children and as a mom, I want to take care of them. But if you do everything yourself, not only do you run yourself ragged, but you also rob them of the joy of doing something to contribute.

4. Take Time for Yourself

Amidst the hustle and bustle, don't forget to prioritize self-care. Schedule moments of solitude to recharge. Whether it's a quiet cup of tea, a walk outside, calling a friend, going to the gym, or simply taking a few deep breaths, giving yourself the gift of time and space can do wonders for your mental well-being. Sometimes, when it’s been a tough day, I take a long shower or a bath and I crawl in bed early with a book. I’ve learned what helps me to relax and recharge, and instead of doing one more thing on my to-do list, I know if I take the time to do some self-care, I’ll feel a lot better.

5. Move Your Body

Physical activity is a powerful stress reliever. Incorporate movement into your holiday routine, whether it's a brisk walk, a dance session in the living room, or a quick workout. Exercise releases endorphins, helping to elevate your mood and energy levels during this busy season. For me, I need to go to the gym and swim. I listen to music while I swim laps and it’s my favorite way to start the day. When my kids were little, and my time to work out was non-existent,  I would blast a song on the radio in the kitchen and they would dance with me. It was super silly and we had so much fun. It felt so good. 

Some people don’t like to work out or for health reasons, can’t do anything really physical. I herniated a disc last year and had surgery and couldn’t work out at all. I found just doing light stretching and walking the dog helped me feel so much better. 

And there you have it, those are five simple ways to manage, and even prevent stress during the holidays. Remember, it's not about achieving perfection but finding balance and joy in the moments that matter most to you. I hope you can focus on at least one of these ways to make your holiday season better.

If you found this episode helpful, please share it with someone who might need these strategies too. Until next time, take care of yourself and those around you. Happy holidays!