The holidays can be the most magical time of the year..twinkle lights, holiday cookies, parties, and presents! But all of that can also create more chaos, pressure, and additional obligations. It’s no surprise anxiety and holiday blues increases this time of year, especially if you’re missing someone incredibly important to you or you’re spending a little too much time with your family (God knows we love them, even though they drive us crazy).
To create more joy and special memories this season, I’ve gathered up my favorite ways to reduce stress so you can add to your mental health toolkit.
1. Just say no
Listen to your gut, if taking on 1 more thing and trying to fit it all in is making your gut scream NOOOO. It’s ok to say no.
Julie Reich, Clinical Psychologist, who happens to be my amazing sister in law, encourages you to let it go, if something is just too much, too hard or too expensive.
2. Get extra sleep
I know I know you’re thinking, Kara, I’m too stressed to sleep, or I’ve got way too much to do to get 8 hours a night. I hear you and feel you. But we all know when we are exhausted, we get snippy, cranky, and which lends to more stress and tension. Lack of sleep causes excess inflammation and cortisol in the body, which steals your glow (inside and out). Use this DIY Pillow Spray to help you relax and sleep better along with these 11 Tricks to get the Best Sleep of your Life.
3. Pick up the Phone
Ever notice when you hear someone’s voice, it makes you feel better. If you are feeling lonely, call a friend or a loved one to help brighten your spirits. On the flip side, make sure you check in with those you love. You never know how much that phone call will mean to them.
Travel plans? Trying to fit in all the family can get expensive and can oftentimes feel rushed. Simply reaching out to family via the phone is a great way to include them without the pressure.
That’s right, indulge! Have an extra cookie, cheese, holiday cocktail, honestly whatever your heart (and tummy) truly desires. There’s no reason to forbid an extra treat because life is too damn short. Just remember to take a few extra walks, drink more water, and get good sleep to keep your body and skin from freaking out if you indulge a little.
5. Take Time for You
You can’t be your best if you’ve burned the candle at both ends. Curl up on the couch to watch your favorite movie. Sink into a hot bath (slather on a facemask like Berry Bright and add some bath salts like Float. Grab a cup of coffee, drink or dinner with your favorite people. Whatever you can do to fill up your cup. It’s the MOST important priority you have.
6. Ditch perfection
Ya know those grand expectations we have? Ditch them. Good, great, excellent is totally good enough. Trying to make everything perfect is a waste of energy. Besides what you think is perfect, someone else might think it is flawed. Think FLAWESOME--Awesome despite your flaws.
7. Fall apart
It's ok to fall apart, cry, and scream. Bottling up your emotions isn't healthy. Ever notice when you try to let the little things go, but never truly do..it builds and builds like a pressure cooker then boom..explosion if you don't let off the steam. Instead of exploding, let it out, fall apart, then pick yourself back up and keep moving forward.
8. Ask for help
It doesn’t make you weak. It makes you resourceful.
Bringing your mind to the present and not being caught up in the past or future is the art of mindfulness and can really help with stress during and after the holiday. I hope these 8 ways to manage stress and anxiety during the holiday will help bring you a little more magic and glow.