How to Reduce Your Holiday Stress The holidays are often described as a cheerful and joyful time. But the holidays can also be very stressful. Visiting relatives, making big purchases, and attending events can be exhausting. If you’re feeling overwhelmed this holiday season, here are some ways to reduce holiday stress: Get Outdoors The holidays are a cozy time when many people snuggle by the fire and curl up with hot chocolate. But all that time indoors can be giving you cabin fever. Mix things up by taking a walk outside. If it’s snowy out, bundle up to go sledding, make a snowman, or have a snowball fight. Winter hikes are often a great way to get in touch with nature. Leave your stress at home at stay in the moment as you breathe in the crisp, snowy air. Pick up Some Citrus The smell of an orange, lemon, or grapefruit can relax you. This is because citrus can boost norepinephrine, which improves your mood. Essential oils can provide a similar effect if you don’t have a citrus fruit handy. Say No It’s easy to say yes to everything during the holidays. But if you’d rather sit an event out, speak up and say so. Your physical and mental wellbeing still needs care throughout the holiday season. Rest is an important part of self-care. Be kind to yourself and do less. With less to do, you’ll be able to be more mindful and present at the events you do choose to attend. Be Grateful The holidays can be full of annoyances. Between your loved ones smothering you and the constant craziness, it can be easy to feel irritated. Instead of getting cranky, lean in to the insanity. If you feel yourself getting annoyed, try to see things from another light. You may want to have a salad, but your co-worker really wants you to try her homemade cookies. Thank your co-worker for the thought. (You can still stick with your healthy choices, though!) Let Go of Your Expectations It’s one thing to have standards. It’s another thing to have unrealistic expectations for the holidays. Perhaps you were expecting a better gift from a loved one. Instead try to see the joy in what you were given. When visiting a loved one’s home, don’t expect the event to be picture perfect. If your mom and your sister-in-law never get along, chances are they won’t become best friends around the Christmas tree. Be realistic about your expectations. And be ready to go with the flow. Keep in mind that the holiday season goes by quickly. It’s a special time of year that should be cherished. But don’t forget to take time to be kind to yourself.

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