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Holiday Stress Strategies - Three Tips to Avoid the Funk

"How are your Holiday's going?"


Sound familiar?

As long as there are families, friends, coworkers and volunteer organizations, we will be busy! You add in several Holiday's within 6 weeks and we tend to go into overdrive.

We tend to not eat right.

We tend to not follow our regular workout schedule.

We tend to schedule too much in, and leave little time free.

This, my friends, all leads to stress. That nasty dog waiting in the wings to raise your blood pressure, wear down your immune system, add pounds to your middle and whittle away at what little patience you have left. All of these then lead to continued bad choices - I mean, you've already had cake, pie and whiskey, what harm is that chocolate mint brownie going to do?! - right?

Which then leads right to home plate - depression and what optimists like to call - The Holiday Blues.

So, let's nip this in the bud and not let Holiday Stress take hold of us at all this year!

Who's with me?

Keep Planning!

The first strategy to avoid the downward spiral into the depression drain is to live by your calendar. I know, I know, you've heard me say this before - but your calendar is your bestie during this time of year. Yes, even more so than on a regular basis. But overscheduling or not being prepared for what you have on your schedule is a HUGE cause of stress.

I also recommend looking at your calendar with your partner (this goes for people with or without children!).

Make sure you are aware of each others' events and obligations. I like to do this on Sunday afternoons so you can look at the whole week, who needs to be where, who needs to bring what and who needs to pick up and bring who where. Shopping lists and time needed to make pot lucks, get ready, wrap gifts (or buy them) can all be put on the schedule together at this one 15 min. sit down.

Plan Meals

One way to take away some stress while you and the family are running from one corner of town (or the state) to another is to have some meals ready to go. Pull out that trusty crock pot and make some chili, soup or stew. Have it handy for when you are running late instead of picking up fast food. I have a favorite chili recipe that I have been perfecting over the years that is my go to!

Also, make sure you plan the large family meals in advance so that you minimize the stress of that day and are able to enjoy the time with your loved ones. I love following a schedule like this one for any big gathering - any time of the year.

Don't Abandon Healthy Habits

First off, we all know how hard and how long you worked to form these habits! Don't just abandon them because of the new demands upon your schedule. Make sure during your planning session (see #1 Strategy!) you schedule in your desired workout or personal activity. Taking care of yourself will not only help keep your stress level down, but it will also help you continue to make good choices throughout the season.

Also, make sure you know when to say NO if it means you have to give up this time for yourself. You may not be able to say no to a heavier workload during this time of year, but you don't have to commit to every invite you receive. You will be surprised to find people are very understanding - we are all juggling lots of jingle right now.

While that was actually a fourth tip, I think remembering to say NO may be the most important aspect of the Holiday Season. Here are some questions to help decide on an event if you are feeling pressured:

- will there be another opportunity to celebrate with these folks?

- am I attending just to make someone else feel good, and do I feel GREAT about that?

- will this cut into my physical/personal time and if so, can I reschedule one or the other?

- if you need to contribute something, can you make a large batch of something and bring to another event?

Most importantly, remember to enjoy the blessings you have been given - take care of yourselves and be grateful for those around you. Here's to Turkey and Tinsle!

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