The holidays are a time of celebration and family—a time to set work aside and focus on the most important things in life. There are many joys to behold: reconnecting with loved ones, devoting time to your spiritual beliefs, and taking in the simple pleasures of carols, treats, lights, and gatherings.
For many, however, idealistic expectations, the wish to please others, financial demands, and other pressures, both internal and external, can cause stress this time of year.
According to the American Psychological Association, 8 out of 10 people anticipate increased stress over the holidays.
To meet this challenge head on, here are five tips to reduce stress and enjoy this wonderful season more this year.
Adjust Your Focus
Author and life coach Tony Robbins recommends adjusting what you focus on. In an interview on the Today Show, he recommended focusing on gratitude, taking action, and giving.
Similarly, Dr. Lisa Paz told South Florida Today that maintaining perspective on what’s important is key. The therapist recommends simply smiling, citing research that shows it reduced anxiety, as well as “maintaining a sense of team with your husband or wife” as you navigate holiday gatherings.
Professor Judith Orloff, M.D. said to health.com that it’s important this time of year to increase your exposure to sunlight. “It stimulates the production of feel-good seratonin,” she explained, “and also helps seasonal affective disorder (SAD).”
Sarah Winfrey of wisebread.com reminds her readers to shop early. “Buying your holiday gifts late can be incredibly stressful,” she says. The lines are longer, there are more people to contend with, and popular gifts are harder to find.”
Stay on Track
The Mayo Clinic highlights the importance of maintaining your healthy habits. They suggest having “a healthy snack before parties,” “getting plenty of sleep,” and engaging in “regular physical activity.”