Isn’t this time of year supposed to be fun and relaxing? Instead, for many of us, it’s hectic and crazy. If you’re a college student, you’re probably preparing to take your final exams. If you’re in sales, you’re giving it one last push to meet your goals. If you work in health care, everybody’s coming in with what ever happens to be going around.
On top of what’s going on in our work lives, we also have decorations to put up, Christmas cards to send, and cookies to bake.
Here’s a list of tips to hopefully make this time of year more enjoyable and stress free.
1. Create a “to-do” list. Write this list on a piece of paper or put the info in your smartphone. Then prioritize it. By making a list, you’re able to clear your mind and focus on things that need to be done now. Crossing things off a list can also create a sense of accomplishment.
2. Chose your holiday events wisely. If you have kids, the annual Christmas concert is a must. Everything after that should be chosen carefully. It’s impossible to attend every event so select the ones that will be the most meaningful and enjoyable for you and your family.
3. Exercise, exercise, exercise. For many of us, cutting out exercise during this busy time of year seems like an obvious way to free up some time. On the contrary, exercise is the last thing you should eliminate from your daily routine. Exercise produces endorphins which can help you relax and cope during this time of year.
4. Breathe. Do you ever pay attention to how you breathe? Many of us are shallow breathers which means we don’t completely inhale or exhale. Deep breathing is beneficial because it sends a message to our brain telling it to “chill out.” When stressed, deep breathing can help reduce your heart rate and blood pressure.
5. Rally the troops. Ask your family or friends for help. It’s not possible to do everything yourself. For the past several years, I’ve been responsible for putting up and taking down the Christmas tree with my daughters. This is a nice opportunity for us to bond and it frees up a good two to four hours for my wife.
6. Budget for holiday spending. My bank has a holiday program that withdraws a specified amount of money out of our paychecks. The caveat is that we’re only allowed to withdraw the money when the holiday season arrives. This helps eliminate some of the financial worry of the holiday season.
7. Make time for yourself. Don’t eliminate things from your life that help you relax or that you enjoy. If you like to read a good book by the fire with a glass of wine, read it. If you like to play racket or basketball with your friends, play. If you’d like to get a massage, do it. Don’t forget about your well being during this busy time of year.
8. Turn off your Smartphone. How can you enjoy a holiday party or dinner with friends if you’re constantly looking at text and email messages? Enjoy the people you’re with. The messages will be there later.
9. Look for new traditions. If you’ve experienced a significant change in your life, such as the loss of a family member or pet, look at creating new traditions instead of dwelling on those of the past. Old traditions make nice memories, but so do new ones.
10. Get plenty of sleep. Like exercise, now is not the time to skimp on sleep. A lack of sleep and increased stress can lead to illness. If you have trouble falling asleep, try listing to soothing music or background noise. I have an app on my iPhone called “White Noise.” This app has a variety of soothing sounds, like waves on the beach and bird song. You can even create your own sound list.
Do you have any tips or information you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them; please share them in the box below.