The holidays are a magical time of year: the scent of peppermint, the joys of family, turkey and football, pilgrims and Santa… but, it can also be a source of stress for a number of different reasons. We may not even realize that we suffer from holiday stress! Holiday stress and anxiety can come from difficult family relationships, work pressures, travel, financial constraints, or a host of other reasons. Regardless of the source, here are 6 tips to keep yourself cool and under control this holiday season:
1. Leverage your sense of humor – Laughter has a relaxing effect on the entire body. A hearty, good laugh will not only relieve tension and stress, but has been shown to keep certain muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes. Besides, it just makes you feel good!
2. Safety in numbers – Who is your holiday buddy? Sometimes all you need is the right partner in crime to survive the holidays and, of course, to have fun with!
3. Plan your travel in advance – Travel is a pain during the holidays if you don’t plan ahead. The extra 30 minutes of planning to avoid traffic, lines, luggage, hungry guests, and weather forecasts can save you 30 hours or more of being pissed off and frustrated.
4. Plan your escape plan – This is the moment of a masterful game plan. If you have chosen to have a holiday buddy, coordinate when it is time to leave a holiday gathering. If you need a secret code word or signal, or excuse why you can’t stay for hours on end, that is ok. Tactfully move on when you’ve had enough. If you have multiple obligations to juggle, don’t forget your obligation to yourself as well.
5. Huff some citrus – load up your aromatherapy tools. Researchers have shown that some citrus scents can enhancing mood, reduce stress, and serve as a pick-me-up.
6. Acknowledge how you feel – Stress or not, the holidays are awesome! Pumpkin pie, random things flavored like peppermint, Santa hats, pine scents, and… thankfulness for family and friends, and the reminder to appreciate why we work so hard the rest of the year. If you don’t acknowledge how you’re feeling, you are robbing yourself of the chance to manage the holiday stress and of the chance to enjoy the holidays for all its quirky glory.