Well, we are closing in on the month of November and fast approaching the Christmas season. I hope that you have found something inspiring in my series on Gratitude that has assisted you in relieving stress and combating anxiety in your own life.
Speaking of stress, remember to include gratitude as you enter the busiest season of the year. It’s easy to allow yourself to get caught up in the shopping and gift giving, trying to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list. I can feel the stress creeping up on me even as I write this!
So, with that in mind, I am offering you a few tips to help reduce your stress and enjoy the Christmas season more than ever!
- Let Go of Perfection. Make this holiday season about what is right for you and your family. Stress can be created by the desire to create the “Perfect Christmas.” However, Christmas is not about perfection. In fact, far from it. There is no need to spend hours baking cookies for a cookie exchange if you detest baking! Make Christmas about what is important to you and your loved ones. That may mean having an simple evening of popping popcorn, getting out the pillows and blankets, lighting a fire and watching old holiday movies with someone special to you. ( Do you feel your stress level starting to come down already!) However, if you love to bake, by all means go for it! The point is to choose the right activity for you.
- Set Priorities. Choose the special Christmas activities that are most important to you. Traditions are great, but not every activity has to become a tradition. Just because you made a gingerbread house with the kids last year, doesn’t mean it has to be done every year. It might be more fun and exciting to experience a new activity rather than repeating the same one over and over. Maybe this year take the kids ice skating or have a caroling party. ( Do people still do that! ) The important thing is to what you will enjoy the most.
- Remember to Include Nature. Step outside and breathe the fresh air. Take a walk. Take the dog for a walk. Exercise. Even a short amount of time spent in nature can help reduce stress and fight anxiety. If it’s cold where you live, even a brief walk can be invigorating and boost your mood.
- Take a Break! What do you like to do that relaxes you the most? Listening to music. Soaking in a hot tub. Getting a massage or a mani/pedi. Having dinner with close friends or staying home and ordering take out. Don’t forget to schedule time for whatever it is that relaxes you and that you enjoy most.
- Remember Gratitude! Yes, this is a busy and hectic time of year. There is so much to be done! But if you will pause for just a moment to be grateful for your blessings. Maybe the greatest gift you could give this season is to remember to save thank you, to squeeze someones hand or to give them a hug.