With Thanksgiving just a week away and the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it’s certainly a stressful time of year for most. I know how hard it can be to manage stress during the holidays, so I’m constantly checking in with myself to make sure my stress and anxiety doesn’t get our of control. Practicing mindfulness and keeping up with my routines is key to making it through the holidays stress-free. So, if you’re like me and struggle to find a balance this time of year, then here are four mindfulness tips for managing stress during the holidays.
There’s so much pressure to find the perfect gift, host the perfect dinner, or find the perfect dress for that holiday party that perfection can be overwhelming this time of year. I think we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to live up to unrealistic expectations that only leave us feeling inadequate. So, forget perfection! Imperfection is healthy and normal. Besides, some of the best memories happen when things don’t necessarily go according to plan, am I right?
Don’t lose sight of what really matters
The true meaning of the holidays is to spend time with friends, family and loved ones. If you get caught up trying to do too much, then it’s easy to lose sight of what really matters. If you’re too busy shopping, cooking, or prepping for the holidays, then you might miss an opportunity to spend time with people who are really important in your life. Make time for those who matter most and let go of unimportant traditions or expectations that don’t bring you joy. Learn to say no to things that will ultimately leave you feeling overwhelmed or overcommitted. If exchanging gifts isn’t your thing, suggest going out to a nice dinner instead. In the end, if you get to connect with someone you love then that’s all that really matters.
Respond with kindness
This time of year can be difficult for a lot of people, and you never know what someone else is going through. Maybe they lost a loved one, are suffering, or are alone for the holidays. Add the stress that comes with the hustle and bustle of it all and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. Ultimately, you can’t control how other people behave, but you can control how you react. Have compassion and remind yourself that everyone has a bad day. Respond with kindness – losing your patience will only leave you both feeling worse.
I know I’ve talked about this a lot on my podcast and here on the blog, but it’s especially important this time of year. If you’re frustrated with the long grocery line, think about how many people go hungry and how grateful you are to be able to buy healthy food. If you’re stuck in traffic and someone cuts you off, think about how lucky you are to be able to drive somewhere safely. Studies show that regularly practicing gratitude is linked to better physical and psychological health, increased mental strength, higher self-esteem, improved relationships and higher quality sleep. One way I like to practice gratitude is by keeping a gratitude journal. It can be as simple as writing down 5 things you’re grateful for that day!