If looking at the schedule of holiday events makes you have a panic attack, make 3 lists:
- Holiday events you enjoy and they wouldn’t take much effort
- Holiday events you must attend or there will be severe consequences (family will never talk to you again, you will be fired from your job, your friends will never forgive you, your girlfriend will break up with you, your children will always tell their therapist about this one)
- Holiday events you are supposed to go to but you hate and there will be no severe consequences for missing
Most of the events that end up on your schedule should be from list 1. List 3. should be very long. List 2. should have no more than 3-5 events on it (e.g. Hanukah Dinner with parents, Christmas breakfast with fiancé)
In 2017, there is no excuse to spend precious holiday time shopping at the mall. Buy all gifts online and spend time with your friends and people you love. Go to the movies, eat meals out, laugh, do outdoor activities, and do anything but make holidays be about overcrowded shopping places.
Don’t change your routine for the holidays. Don’t allow others to change it. Make it better and more relaxing. If you normally go to the gym, don’t skip during the holidays, add sauna or spa. If you normally don’t go to the gym, don’t rush and start exercising. You’ll only add stress to the season. Instead, make sure to eat as much of your regular diet on days you are not going to parties.
Sleep 8 hours per night as much as possible. We tend to stay up late during the holidays. One of the best ways to decrease stress is to get more sleep. So, instead of rushing out to stores on the weekends for holiday deals, just stay in bed and get that sleep.
When feeling overwhelmed and stressed, just say NO to any holiday activities. Stay home and watch your favorite TV show with your loved ones. That’s what holidays should be about—spending time with people you love.