For many of us, holidays are freaking stressful. There are a million things to do, we spend more time with family, and those office parties tend to give a nice little anxiety boost. (Or is that just me?) While there’s a lot going on, we don’t need to embrace the stress this holiday.
Below are six simple ways to reduce your holiday stress. I picked my top choices based on what will work best for your brain, body, and your schedule. So, don’t worry – these shouldn’t add to your to-do list, but simply make your time more enjoyable this year.
Plan Ahead with Intention
Okay, before we dive right into busy schedules, social events, and gift wrapping, let’s spend a moment slowing down.
I challenge you to pause today and reflect on what you want this holiday season to look like. My first tip for fighting the winter blues and stress is the set an INTENTION.
Really think about it. What do you want this season to represent for you? How do you want to feel? What do you want to prioritize?
For example, I’m far from home this holiday season and to avoid feeling depressed that I’m missing out on family and traditions, I’m setting an intention to be present and grateful this holiday. That way, when I find myself feeling sad about missing the cookie baking fun at my step-mom’s, I can remind myself of how happy I am to have sunshine on my face here in Bali today.
You can do the same. If you pledge to be low-stress, you can remember that intention when deciding if you need to say “no” to an activity. If you want giving back to be a priority, take time to schedule some opportunities to do so before your calendar fills up.
Get my free planner pages here (no email required).
Reminders to Breathe
Don’t have time to a 90 minute yoga class or a long meditation practice? No problem! It only takes a couple minutes a day to tune into your breath and feel instantly better.
You can do it now.
Bring both hands onto your belly and take a big breath in through your nose. Allow the belly to grow big, like a balloon. As you exhale, try to take it a bit slower than your inhale. Allow the air to empty out completely. Repeat 6 – 10 more times.
That’s it! Set a timer in your phone a couple times a day to simple breathe. You can do this while driving, washing dishes, etc. It’s a nice way to activate the relaxation part of your nervous system.
Winter time can encourage day-long cuddles under fuzzy blankets – which I think is something to take advantage of! However, we can also become too sedentary in our body and it will leave you feeling lethargic.
Now is the perfect time for shorter movement sessions that leave you feeling good. If the weather is nice enough, take a ten minute walk outside. You can also drop into my Freebies portal for a 10-20 minute yoga session to get you stretched out and awake.
But my favorite way to move during the winter months? DANCE, baby! Put your top playlist on shuffle and turn your kitchen into a dance floor.
Making a little bit of time for movement, like a dance party between baking cookies, will release awesome endorphins – those feel good hormones.
Enjoy Holiday Treats
Listen, you’re gonna eat the cookies. And you should! ENJOY THEM.
When we are stressed about what we eat around the holidays, it reduces our enjoyment of holiday parties and social events. This ruins a lot of the fun.
Intuitive Eating Coach, Victoria Evans, recently joined me on a free FB training to talk about the ways to avoid food stress this holiday. Her biggest tip was around giving ourselves permission to enjoy the treats. She shared that when we feel restriction, our brains are more likely to rebel anyways, and usually leave us binging over the cookies.
Another big tip she had was to eat before going to a holiday party. When we show up starving, we’ll be more likely to overeat, leaving us heavy and stressed afterwards.
Get Victoria’s free holiday guide here.
Allow for Receiving
One of the reasons we feel so stressed out during the holidays is because we overload ourselves with things to do. There’s a whole lot of giving and we usually forget to receive until we rip apart wrappings on Christmas morning.
A powerful way to practice receiving this holiday is by asking for support. Are there tasks that can be shared? Is there a way to lean on friends to lighten everyone’s work load?
For example, why not ask a friend about watching each other’s kids so the other can have a day to themselves for shopping and self care. Or invite your friends over to wrap gifts together over wine and Christmas movies.
Where can you lean on others for support this holiday?
Wanna feel better fast? Ask for a hug!
Seriously, you will get a nice happiness high from it. Physical touch from those we love (or even complete strangers) actually releases a powerful neurotransmitter called Oxytocin. This releases warm, fuzzy feelings by stimulating the flow of happy hormones – dopamine and serotonin.
In doing so, you’ll feel less stressed and anxious!
Another good way to enjoy touch this holiday? By making time for sex! You’ll release the same happy hormones x10. Who doesn’t like a warm snuggle when it’s so cold out?
Want 25 more tips?
This month, I’m releasing a daily tip on my Instagram feed on how to avoid winter blues and holiday anxiety this season. Make sure to follow me @theremoteyogi and share my posts with someone needing a pick-me-up this month.
Ready to commit? Drop a comment below with the one tip you’re going to implement this holiday season.
Sending all the cheer,