Stress less: handling the holiday hustle and bustle

November 23, 2012 7:05:41 AM PST
It's not hard to find a laundry list of stressors that we all face during the holidays: Dealing with family, budgeting money, buying gifts, hosting holiday parties, just to name a few. It all adds up and can take a toll on the mental, emotional and physical well-being of you and your loved ones. But there are ways to lessen your stress -- and you can start by trying out these tips:

Staying active and healthy

  • Take time to take care of yourself. Walk around your block. The fresh air will clear your mind.
  • Throw on some running shoes. A quick jog can do wonders for your production of endorphins.
  • Chill out. Explore various forms of meditation, acupuncture or message therapy. Or simply practice taking long, steady breaths.
  • Join a yoga class or other related exercise class with friends or family to stay motivated. By holding each other responsible, there will be less of an excuse to stay committed.
  • Participate in aerobics. Even a five-minute aerobic workout has been shown to stimulate anti-anxiety effects such as decreasing tension, stabilizing mood and improving self-esteem.

Hosting a party

  • Take a breather. Don't overwhelm yourself with the whats, ifs, ands, or buts.

  • Take control. Don't make people ruin your holiday spirit by worrying about what they think of your holiday festivities.

  • Laugh. Don't let everything get to you. Laugh it off.

  • Spilt the head of the table with your spouse. Sit him/her next to his/her side of the family and you sit next to yours.

  • Ask for help when needed. Just because you're the host doesn't mean people can't chip in and help.

  • Have realistic goals. Know that a perfect holiday celebration does not exist, but great times do.

  • Be ready. By being prepared for the obstacles that could happen will give you an upper hand on how to fix them when they do happen.

Purchasing gifts

  • Spend within your financial means. Create a budget for gifts that you can actually maintain.

  • Start shopping early for family members and friends. This avoids long lines, hectic shoppers and popular items that will be eventually out of stock.

  • Make your own gifts. Be creative such as making your own wrapping paper out of your construction paper, sewing a scarf or baking homemade cookies and chocolate. Another idea is to make voucher cards for your loved ones that entitle the holder to gifts such as a home cooked meal or a day of not having to worry about yard work.

  • Talk to your children about Santa's expectations on how many gifts each child will be getting so that no child is disappointed on Christmas.

One great way to reduce your anxiety while shopping is to avoid the malls and retail stores all together. Here are some helpful tips for when shopping online:

  • Make a list and plan ahead on what gifts you want to buy. This will minimize confusion and stress.

  • Check shipping deadlines on retailers' websites to ensure your items are going to be shipped on time.

  • Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) offers promotions of more than 500 online retailers throughout the holiday season.

  • Watch out for scams. When coming across a site that has too good of deals for items that are generally far more expensive, a red flag should go up.

  • Check your order over before confirming it.

  • Print and save all confirmations of your purchases.

Sources: Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Mayo Clinic, American Psychological Assocation's Help Center, National Retail Federation