Yes, it’s that time of year again, believe it or not.
With Halloween just a few short weeks away, Thanksgiving and Christmas, Hannuka, or whatever holidays you celebrate are not far behind.
Holidays are fun, fabulous, wondrous, and magical, times. But they have a dark side if you let them.
That dark side is stress. And boy oh boy, can stress be an unwelcome visitor.
Shopping and Cooking and Baking, Oh My!
Think about all of the things you do during the holidays.
You bake, you cook, you shop, you wrap gifts. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
There are holiday parties, gatherings, and get-togethers.
Sure, it’s all fun. But it’s also incredibly draining. And sometimes that overload makes it hard to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.
As much as you love spending time with friends and family and participating in all of the holiday cheer, sometimes alone time, me time, is a welcome respite.
Don’t ever feel guilty about retreating to the quiet and serenity away from the hustle and bustle of the season.
Time To Unwind And Recharge
Need some ideas to get you started? You’re in luck. I have a few. Here are some of my favorites.
1. Get moving.
Moving around may seem counterintuitive if you’re looking for ways to slow down. But, in fact, a dose of healthy activity can do wonders to wake up your mind and your spirit.
Do you love to run like I do?
When you start feeling overloaded, lace up your running shoes and take off. Drink in the outdoors, the sights and sounds around you. Communing with nature, while getting your blood moving and your heart rate going is an excellent way to detach from the demands of the season.
And physical activity will also help wake you up and lower your stress levels. Not to mention the calorie burn that will work off those holiday cookies you recently enjoyed.
Exercise is your best friend during times of stress, and I think we can all agree the holidays qualify as a time stress.
2. Soak in a warm bath.
Can you think of anything quite as enticing and relaxing as a hot bath?
Settle back in the water, close your eyes and relax. If you like, place some candles around the tub, maybe play some soft music. Let your mind and soul drift away from all those time and energy demands.
If you’ve been baking or shopping, or doing anything that keeps you on your feet for long stretches, a warm soak in the tub will feel incredible. Ditto for any other muscle aches you might be feeling from leaning over a table wrapping gifts or rolling dough.
A bath is a great way to recharge your drained batteries.
3. Hibernate for an entire evening.
Sometimes what you need most during times of stress and demand is just to disconnect from the world. Turn off your phone, put your computer away, and curl up with a good book or a favorite movie.
Turn down one of the many holiday invitations you receive and revel in some alone time. No need to talk to anyone or do anything you don’t want to do. Just chill and enjoy the solitude.
4. Order in dinner.
When you’ve been in the kitchen for hours preparing holiday treats, letting someone else cook dinner for you is an indulgence. If you’re like most people, you have a few favorite local restaurants that deliver. Call one of them and place your order.
Even if the restaurant doesn’t deliver, picking up dinner is still easier than cooking, most of the time.
Sometimes you just cannot make yourself cook another meal or make another dish. Pick up the phone. Hand dinner prep over to someone else.
5. Simplify your holiday menu and baking.
There’s something about the holidays that makes you want to make everything from scratch. Nothing but the best ingredients for your favorite holiday recipes.
Pick a few traditional favorites to make. But don’t try and make too many varieties of holiday cookies, for example. A few favorites are all you need.
Some cookies are more time-consuming to make, what with the rolling and cutting and decorating. Skip those this year, if you run out of time and energy.
If it turns out you need more for a party or gathering, enlist the help of others to contribute something or purchase from a bakery.
Sometimes less is more. Give yourself a break and reduce your load. It’ll be okay. I promise.
6. Get comfortable with the word no.
Sometimes the word no is your best friend.
Unending party invitations, requests to contribute to party menus, and expectations to shop till you drop all make carving out some me time imperative.
You don’t have to agree to every task request or accept every party invitation. Pick and choose. Know your limits.
Be aware of how much you can reasonably do before you begin shouting bah humbug!
We’re all too eager to please, especially during the holidays. We hate letting people down. But trust me when I say you’re better off saying no to a few things than to suffer an enormous meltdown.
No one, not you or your family and friends, will find your emotional blow up the least bit enjoyable.
The holidays are meant to be fun, to be enjoyed and savored. And there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
Saying no when you’ve had enough is the best way to cut yourself some slack and recharge.
The Best Time Of The Year
Substitute any one of the tips I’ve suggested in place of a task you don’t want to do. Or maybe you have some ideas of your own that help you unwind during the holidays.
Whatever you do, learn to pay attention to how you feel, emotionally and physically. When you’re running on empty and overstressed, unplug for a while.
Find your happy retreat. Settle in for a spell.
Live to fight celebrate another day.
Happy, relaxed and content.
The holidays only come once a year.
Don’t try and cram a year’s worth of activity into those few weeks.
Carve out some holiday me time and enjoy the magic.
If you enjoyed this post, let’s keep the conversation going. Head over to my Facebook page and leave me a message. Tell me some of your favorite holiday de-stressors.