Many people find the holiday season to be pressure-filled and stressful, yet they expect to enjoy this time.  Ideally, the holiday season is a time to enjoy time with friends and family, and to gather together for joy and sharing.  Sadly, this time of year becomes filled with extra demands and commercialism, and the seasonal spirit can become lost or clouded.  How can you get that sense of joy and pleasure back?  Here are some ways to reduce the stress of the holidays and enjoy the season more.

Stress Reducing Tip #1 – Take some time to reflect on the holidays and what this time of year means to you and your family.  What traditions do you enjoy?  Are there some that you find annoying or bothersome?  Find ways to focus on the positives, and be sure to incorporate the traditions that you enjoy.  Just because something has “always been done a certain way” doesn’t mean that you must continue it forever if you do not enjoy it.  New traditions can be just as wonderful as those that have been around for generations.  Take a simple survey of your family’s preferences, too.  You may find that you each have special things that should be included, or things that you all dread!   It is okay (and healthy) to eliminate traditions that nobody enjoys!  Some families like to try out one “new” tradition each year, perhaps by taking suggestions from family members or friends.  Wonderful memories can be created this way!  Talk to each other, and talk to your friends about how they enjoy the season, and you will find that there are many different ideas to try.

Stress Reducing Tip #2 – Find ways to simplify the holiday season.  Try to remember that it is not about giving the most expensive and lavish gifts, but instead appreciating one another and giving thoughtful gifts.  Set a budget for yourself, and then be sure to stick to it.  Overindulging and creating huge credit card debt will result in increased stress when those bills start to arrive in January.

Stress Reducing Tip #3 – Remember to take care of yourself.  During all of the hustle and bustle of the season, it’s easy to stay up too late, or have your regular routine and schedule disrupted.  Make sure that you take the time to get enough sleep and eat properly.  And, don’t forget to exercise!  Not only will it help you keep away the excess pounds that seem to want to come along with the holidays, you will be able to keep your stress level down using exercise.  Eating properly can be a challenge during the holidays, try to limit the sweets and treats, get plenty of healthy foods and water, and limit the amount of alcoholic or caffeinated beverages for best results.

The holidays can be such a special time to enjoy with friends and family, and they can be a wonderful break from the ordinary ways and routines.  It is important to focus on enjoying the holidays and keeping you and your family healthy—in mind, body and spirit—so that you can enjoy your time with one another more fully.

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