As you know — I’ve been shopping for the holidays since August…so I won’t be doing any last-minute runs to the mall to buy gifts before Christmas. It’s my trick for reducing holiday stress. I also make lists and lists of everything that needs to get done so I don’t leave anything out. Gifts to wrap, calls to make, cards to buy, etc. List making will help you calm down and get everything accomplished for sure.
For some other easy ways to reduce stress in this crazy holiday season I turned to the experts at Chicken Soup for the Soul. The publisher Amy Newmark compiled these tips for us:
6 Ways to Reduce Holiday Stress
by Amy Newmark
The holiday madness is upon us. Are you feeling a little stressed out? Adding all that holiday prep to your already busy schedule may be putting you over the top. So if you are engaging in “Extreme Multitasking” these days, here are a few tips from the folks at Chicken Soup for the Soul that may make the rest of December go a little easier.
1. Remember to use your positive thinking! Almost every cloud has a silver lining, and if you make a conscious effort to find the positives in your life, you really will feel better.
Let’s say that you have to park a quarter mile away from the mall at the farthest end of the parking lot – just think of it as an opportunity to get ten minutes of exercise that you wouldn’t otherwise have thought to fit into your day.
2. Count your blessings! Gratitude and thankfulness are proven to make people healthier and more popular. Remember that the reason you have so much work to do is because there are so many people in your life who you love. Now doesn’t that make you feel better about buying all those gifts and preparing all that food?
3. Say No! Really, you can say no. If you don’t want to bake five-dozen cookies for next week’s third-grade class party, say no. Or offer to make the cookies for the Easter party when your schedule is lighter, or offer to provide the paper plates and napkins instead.
4. Don’t strive for perfection! It doesn’t have to be perfect. Do you actually remember whether the holiday gatherings you attended in past years involved paper plates… or fine china? Plastic cups… or crystal that had to be washed by hand? Gourmet food… or take-out Chinese? You probably don’t. Remember that what really matters is who is sitting around the table, not what you put on the table.
5. Take care of yourself every day! You may not have time to do your normal routine. But if you can’t exercise for an hour, squeeze in fifteen minutes of stretches.
Also, simple things like stealing a few minutes to sit and read a short story or sitting in the garage for an extra couple of minutes when you get home and let that song on the radio finish playing can help more than you’d think.
6. Carve that to-do list into tiny pieces! That list may look daunting, but if you carve it into bite-size pieces, accomplishing a few little tasks each day, you’ll be through it in no time. And while you’re at it, why don’t you delete a few items on that list, remembering that you can say “no” and that it doesn’t have to be perfect?
Amy Newmark is the publisher, author, and editor of one of the most successful book series of all time – Chicken Soup for the Soul®. Since its first release in 1993, the Chicken Soup for the Soul series has sold more than 112 million copies with more than 180 titles and 40 languages. For more information, visit www.chickensoup.com