- Acknowledge your feelings. Feelings are information. Try to figure out what they’re telling you. Maybe they’re trying to tell you that you’re putting to much pressure on yourself? Maybe you’re expecting too much? Maybe you’re doing too much? Take a look at you’re priorities. What is most important to you? What can you let go of? What can others help you with?
- Give up guilt. The house doesn’t need to be perfect and you don’t need to do it all! When it comes to decorating and cleaning, good enough is really good enough! You don’t need to bake and make crafts if you don’t want or have time to, but if that’s a priority than let go of something else … and do it without guilt. And don’t compare yourself to others you don’t know their story!
- Learn to say no. I heard a great line the other day; when you say yes to doing one thing, you are automatically saying no to doing something else. So make a list of your priorities and figure out what’s realistic and what’s not. If you try to do too much you’ll just get stressed and it will not only affect you, it will affect everyone around you, putting a damper on everyone’s festivities.
- Simplify your life. Do your shopping on line when you have time and try to avoid the crowds at the store, being in over-crowed places can increase your anxiety levels. If you don’t have time to write out long notes on your holiday cards then don’t, it’s really okay! Instead, why not pick a different holiday or a time of the year where you don’t have as much to do and send a long note then. I had an uncle that would send out cards on Valentine’s Day just to let people know how much he cared for them. It made his card stand out and be even more special.
If you’re the one entertaining, get help with the cleaning and cooking, and keep your menu simple. If you want to try one new recipe do so but don’t go overboard. You don’t need to impress your friends and family, they’ll love you anyway and if you have a relative that is always criticizing, and we all have one of those, you’re not going to please them regardless of what you do!
Some people just live for drama, so don’t let them bait you! Mentally prepare yourself for that person before hand. Think about how you want to respond to them so they don’t spoil your day and keep a smile on your face and love in your heart!
- Stay within your budget. I know this is really hard to do. We all enjoy giving the people we love gifts, it makes us feel good, but there are other ways to show your love. Remember debt causes even more anxiety! If you’re on a really tight budget get inventive. Maybe you can bake cookies or bring someone a meal, it doesn’t need to be fancy, or just spend some time visiting with them. The gift of your time is priceless!
Most people don’t care what you spend they just want to know that you care and thought of them. And I have found that often the things we buy are forgotten or discarded as soon as the excitement wears off!
- Take time for yourself. Meditate, read, take soothing scented baths, diffuse essential oils or have potpourri around, light candles and practice deep breathing and mindfulness. Take time in the evening to wind down, you’ll sleep better and maybe include a hot cup of soothing herbal tea in your nighttime routine.
- Do something for others. Doing something nice for someone else or someone less fortunate will make you both feel wonderful. When you think of others and how you can help them, you immediately stop thinking about your own problems.
- Practice Gratitude. Every morning and every evening go over all the things you have to be grateful for. Even if you don’t have much or if you’re ill there is always something to be grateful for; the gift of another day, the sun shining, the people who love you, you get the idea! Being grateful sets the tone of the day and helps keep things in perspective.
- Get involved. I don’t want to talk about politics, but I don’t think we can ignore the impact the outcome of the recent election has had on many people. No matter which side of the fence you’re on, pay attention to the issues that are important to you. The best way to feel like you have some control is to make your voice heard. Write to your local and state representatives, the governor and even the president about your concerns. There is a peaceful solution for everything, but we can only change that which we acknowledge to be a problem, putting our heads in the sand will accomplish nothing!
- Make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin D. As the days get shorter and colder you may not be getting enough vitamin D. According to Dr. Andrew Weil adults should take at least 2,000 IU of vitamin D. Studies have shown that vitamin D can help with depression and help protect your bones. Look for brands with D3. Other good sources are salmon, sardines, cod liver oil, mackerel and fortified eggs.
- You may want to consider taking a B complex. Studies have also shown that low levels of B12 and B6 can cause depression.
- Get enough Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce depression, anxiety and inflammation. Read the label to make sure your fish oil supplement has 500 mg of EPA and DHA.
Have a wonderfully happy and stress free, or at least less stressed, holiday season!