25 Awesome Ways to Beat Holiday Stress and Exhaustion
The holidays are fun but, honestly, they're exhausting. It seems like there is more of everything than at any other time of year: more social events, more items on the to-do list, more money to spend and more stress about how to spend it. It's no wonder so many of us are tired. Here are a few ideas to perk you up:
1. Plan some rest into every day. Even 10 minutes will help you feel rejuvenated and ready to take on whatever comes next.
2. Focus on your breathing. If you can't stop and rest, focus on taking deep breaths from your stomach. Proper breathing (which we don't always do when we're stressed) allows the body to function optimally.
3. Take a day where you do nothing that has to do with the holidays. This means no parties, no shopping, no balancing the checkbook or checking credit card statements online.
4. Wear something that energizes you. Break the rules and wear something bright in non-holiday colors. It will help you remember that there's more to life than the holidays, and give you a different sort of energy.
5. Make sure the people around you know that you care. If you let them know you care, they'll see your efforts as a gift even if the party goes badly or the gifts don't fit or the food isn't just right.
6. Elf yourself. Do good deeds and have fun with your friends or your boss. It's been around for a while now, but that doesn't stop it from being hilarious. And laughter, as we all know, is good medicine for tired or stressed people.
7. Make something fun. When we're tired, we forget that making things helps us rest and relax. Whether it's a Christmas ornament or a holiday card or a gift for someone else, making it with your own hands will help you slow down and find a new rhythm.
8. Sing a carol or a favorite Yule time toon. Feel the stress disappear when you start singing your favorite holiday carol or song. Even if you are by yourself or part of a crowd, it will help ease some of the stress and spread Christmas cheer.
9. Make a snowflake. Fold up a piece of paper, find some scissors and there you have it! Christmas fun for everyone.
10. Make a snowperson or snowflake online. One sight you can use is http://snowflakes.barkleyus.com/
If you don't have paper or scissors, or think snowflake making is for sissies, make one online and watch it fall. Leave a note, and someone somewhere in the world might see it, be cheered, and never know it’s from you.
11. Talk to some kids about the holidays. Their perspective is often enlightening and their energy is always contagious. There's nothing that will refresh you like catching some of that.
12. Have some hot cider or hot chocolate. Hot drinks are known for their calming effects, and this one has the added benefit of restoring your holiday cheer.
13. Play with some children. Kids make up the best games, especially when the weather is cold and the holidays are in the air. You'll find your entire way of thinking rearranged when you're done.
14. Get some exercise. It's an oldie but a goodie when it comes to reducing stress and re-energizing.
15. Reward yourself. Make a deal that you'll get lunch or Coffee or an episode of The Office for every 5 presents you wrap, or every room you decorate, or that you'll get a new shirt for every party you don't overeat at. Then reward yourself when you do the job well.
16. Remember what Christmas is all about. It doesn't matter what this is for you as long as you can learn to draw it to mind when you're stressed. Changing your perspective does amazing things for your exhaustion and stress levels.
17. Close your eyes. While things do still exist even when we can't see them, reducing the amount of stimuli the brain has to process can drastically reduce tiredness, particularly in a season of sensory overload.
18. Focus on one task at a time. If you make your mind focus on each thing until you've done all you can about it, your mind will be less likely to run in circles or race, which will reduce your load significantly.
19. Head off difficult situations before they come up. Whether it's a family member who you don't want to deal with, or the temptation to overeat at a party, or that person who always buys you a present even when you don't want to spend your money on them, coming up with a plan ahead of time will save stress later and make the season more peaceful overall.
20. Watch the Christmas specials. What holiday TV shows or movies were important to you as a child? Whether it’s The Sound of Music, A Christmas Story, National Lampoon Christmas Vacation or Frosty the Snowman watching them again can take you back to the time when Christmas was fun, not just a lot of work.
21. Eliminate items from your schedule. Can you shop online and avoid the crowds? Then do it! Can you send Christmas postcards instead of a long letter? What are you waiting for? So many of the things we do during this season are easily simplified. Choose your least favorite tasks and simplify today.
22. Stretch. Help those tensed muscles relax by reaching for the sky, then your toes, and back again. Continue with different stretches until you feel calmer and more energized.
23. Smile. Even when you don't feel it, smiling helps you feel more positive about things and have more energy to get them done. Don't stash the bad feelings away, but get through the hard times with a smile so you have the energy to deal with what you feel later.
24. Do something out of the ordinary. Do you usually use gift bags? Try wrapping this year. Do you always make a particular egg dish for breakfast on Christmas morning? Try something new this year. Giving your brain new patterns allows you to get away from the feelings you might inadvertently have associated with doing things a particular way.
25. Get more sleep. Ok, so it's obvious, but it's also true. We tend to deprive ourselves of sleep during this season and we suffer for it.
I hope you each have a wonderful holiday season. Enjoy your friends and family and take some time for yourself this joyous of holidays and start 2011 with new rejuvenation and passion!