Have a Stress-Free Holiday Season

by Kristie Leong M.D.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year and also the most stressful. The holidays may be full of cheer, but they can take a toll on your stress level and your health. From the pressures of shopping to visiting relatives there doesn’t seem to be a free moment. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a stress free holiday season for once? Here are some tips to reduce stress during the holidays this year.

Have a stress free holiday: Avoid shopping stress
It’s important not to forget the reason for the season. Instead of concentrating on the retail aspects of the season, remember why holidays are celebrated in the first place. Make it easier on yourself. Instead of buying expensive presents for everyone you know, donate money to a deserving charity instead. No one will mind if you tell them you’re donating to a good cause this year instead of giving gifts. If you feel compelled to offer presents to certain people, give a gift certificate instead. This will lighten your holiday shopping load and eliminate the time you previously spent choosing, buying, and wrapping gifts. Of course, if you have small children, you’ll want to shop for them but, otherwise, scale back to reduce shopping stress during the holidays.

Have a stress free holiday: Spend less time in the kitchen
This is another way people stress themselves out during the holidays. They feel the need to prepare elaborate holiday meals for friends and family. This is not only stressful but expensive. Why not do it differently this year and eat out on Christmas Eve or Christmas day? Many hotels offer Christmas buffets where you can have a variety of food choices without having to deal with preparation and clean up. Although some of these buffets can be expensive, consider how much you’d be spending to cook at home and it won’t sound like such a bad deal. Imagine how relaxing it will be to enjoy a buffet and sip a cup of hot coffee while listening to Christmas music.

Have a stress free holiday: Don’t over commit yourself
The holidays are a time for Christmas parties and celebrations, but too many parties can cause unnecessary stress. A lot of preparation can go into attending a party even if you’re not the one giving it. This is particularly true for women who have to select an appropriate outfit, accessorize it, and go through the motions of doing make-up and hair. To reduce stress, choose one of two parties to attend during the holidays and gracefully bow out of the rest. No one will think less of you for it.

Have a stress free holiday: Take time out for yourself
To reduce stress during the holiday season, make time for pampering yourself in small ways. Enjoy a warm, fragrant bubble bath or a long walk in the outdoors. Breathe deeply and enjoy the sweet smells of nature. It’s important to have an outlet to help you unwind during the holiday season.

Holiday celebrations don’t have to be hectic and chaotic unless you allow them to be. Learn to reduce stress and enjoy the holidays for what they were meant to be, a time to express love and appreciation for friends and family.

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