I used to stress a lot about the holidays. So much that I would work myself up and not enjoy the entire month of December. Stress is a killer! Well that's the sign that is up at my cardiologist's office and I'm starting to believe it.

Well this year I'm feeling pretty good about the holidays and that's thanks to the tips from friends and family that have actually gotten through to me. Having a self-care plan for managing the holidays is crucial.

Stress is no fun, so I'm going to share some of those helpful tips that have made my holidays go from nightmares to excitement.

Holiday Stress Planning

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How can I reduce holiday stress, be present in the moment, and truly enjoy everything about the season?

The holidays can feel so rushed. I know I'm often overwhelmed with the amount of shopping I feel like I must do to be prepared.  Plan your holiday shopping early, and shop online as much as you can.  So right now, instead of dreading heading into the holiday lines, make a list of what you need to get and shop online. Most grocery stores will now deliver and all you have to do is put it away!

Remember that you don't have to take on everything.

Pick your battles. – You don't have to attend every event you are invited to.  You don't have to engage in every frustrating conversation at the ones you do go to.  You get to choose who and what to share your energy with.

Right now, look through your invites and choose a few that are important to you and RSVP.  And then sent a quick “Regret” to the others that you won't be attending.

Remember WHY. – We plan these events, say yes to invites, run around trying to get everything done. But why?  I think that sometimes we need to stop and remember the reason that we are doing all of this?  Is it because you enjoy spending time with friends and family? Is it because you love decorating?  Why are you working so hard?

If they don't bring you joy, then don't go!

 

Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

Many of us forget to take care of ourselves when we are stressed and even more during the holidays.  So pre-planning your routines and coping skills is the best way to navigate and care for your needs.

Make time for exercise. – Take a few minutes each day to care for your body.  Yoga, stretching, even a quick workout will boost your energy for the rest of the day and keep you from feeling stiff or sore later.

Go to bed on time. – It might take effort, but making sure you keep your sleep schedule during the holidays is important to your health. When you are fighting Lyme Disease and exhaustion, you are more prone to getting sick easier.

Order instead of making fresh – I've come to realize that my family likes eating. Period.  They don't mind if I order it, make it fresh, or have it delivered.  They just like to have a hot meal… or cold.  Really, they are just glad they don't have to make it for themselves. So I've found a few good bakeries that deliver to my door, I have a couple of meal boxes that come and make my life easier, and I am great at ordering food. Don't sweat the small stuff.

Ask for help. – Like many people, I have a long list of To Do items to get ready for the holidays. Often I feel overwhelmed and stress myself trying to get it all done.  Ask for help! Make a list of things that you can pass off to someone else and take advantage of those who might offer their assistance. Wrapping gifts, setting the table, or just walking the dog… let others help you.

How Can I avoid holiday burnout?

Avoiding Holiday Burnout is crucial to pushing off the stress and pressure that this time of year can bring.

Prioritize your well being over stressing about food 

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season can drain you physically and mentally. When your calendar is already packed to the brim, it’s hard to find time to pencil in self-care. However, it’s important to keep a pulse on your well being.

You know yourself better than anyone, so be sure to listen to your body and address any concerns as they arise. If you’re feeling sick, take a personal day to rest and heal. If you’ve been sitting for too long, stand up and get your body moving. If you’re exhausted, take a step back and catch up on some much-needed sleep.

During the holidays, remember to make time for yourself.

For those with food sensitivities, you may be approaching these holiday parties with equal amounts of anticipation and dread. Having specific dietary requirements or allergies can be especially difficult at this time of the year — particularly when you’re faced with mouth-watering buffets every day. However, to help you cope with the onslaught of holiday parties this coming season.

For many people, this time of year comes with a lot of negative feelings about food. Some dread the expected weight gain; others dread that they’ll have to restrict and resist the holiday treats. But what almost everyone does is trying to find a strategy to survive the festivities with minimal damage.

Trying to stick to a normal eating routine during the holidays is difficult, but with some planning, you can master this too! We share some tips for managing stressful eating here.

To be honest, I make a few dishes, like my CBD Cranberry sauce that I know will calm me down and taste good. 

Surviving the holidays when you are grieving is hard. 

Grief can be one of the toughest emotions to handle. When grieving, you may experience a range of emotions, from anger to sadness and from depression to numbness. You may not know where to turn or what you should be doing.

There are many reasons why you may be grieving. It may feel like nothing is going to help. 

One of the healthiest ways to cope with grief during the holidays is to acknowledge what's happening. Recognize that there is a lot going on around the holidays. You may realize that you are having a tough time grieving and with the busy times around the holidays, things may become even more difficult.

The sooner you can acknowledge this, the sooner you can quit fighting your feelings It's okay to have a rough time with grieving. It's normal. On the other hand, if you don’t acknowledge that the holidays may be tough for you, you may end up doing something you regret, because you aren’t coping with your grief.

Let Go of Some Traditions

If you are like other people, you may celebrate many traditions surrounding the holidays. These traditions may include going Black Friday shopping, hanging out with friends, hosting holiday parties, and other traditions.

If you are the main cook in your family, consider allowing others to take over or try ordering some of the food. 

If you are dealing with grief and are struggling to maintain several traditions, you can easily become overwhelmed. It may be time to end one or more of these traditions, at least temporarily. While doing so may be tough, it can help you take the time you need to grieve. You could even replace a tradition with one that honors the loved one you have lost.

You've Got This!

Gift yourself permission to take care of yourself. You don't have to be perfect, and neither do the holidays. 

Prioritizing self-care during the holidays allows you to enjoy the holidays, your friends, and family. Don't let stress knock you down!

Take some time to grab some eggnog, play your favorite holiday music, and write your letter to Santa. That's what I'll be doing tonight!

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