5 Steps to Stress-Free Holidays

By: Women's Care Florida Staff

Long lines at the stores, skyrocketing credit card bills and burnt turkeys are all the hallmarks of a stressful holiday season. With increased stress comes decreased health, making it hard to stay fit—or happy—during the holidays.

But holiday stress is a tradition you don’t have to take part in. Follow the five steps below for a holly, jolly and stress-free holiday.

Set realistic holiday expectations

Everyone’s pictures on Facebook will show perfect holiday moments. You’ll see smiling children, dogs in cute sweaters and perfectly baked desserts. What you don’t see, however, are the moments where the kids were crying, the dog made a mess and the pies went in the garbage because they came out like a lump of coal.

The first step in managing holiday stress is to set realistic expectations. Life isn’t a Hallmark movie. Your kids will get upset. Your family might fight. Your gingerbread house might crumble. Your holidays can still be great. Instead of focusing on the mishaps, focus on the exciting parts of the holidays: your children’s faces lit by holiday lights, the chance to be with your family, the way you’ll laugh about that coal pie next year.

Get started early

Black Friday doesn’t have to be the first day of the holiday shopping season. Get started early on buying gifts so you can choose from a large selection and have time to wait for sales that meet your budget. Ask people for lists, too, so you can be sure they get what they really want.

You can even get started on holiday cooking and baking early; simply freeze the dishes or cookie dough. These techniques will save you time during the holiday rush.

Share the wealth of work

If you are hosting holiday get-togethers, you have to clean and decorate your house, stock up on supplies and handle all the clean up. Make hosting easier on yourself by asking others to bring dishes. Give your partner or kids a list of things to do to help, whether it is going grocery shopping or vacuuming the floors. By delegating some of the work, you can lower your stress and have more time to enjoy the holidays with your family.

Pick your priorities

It seems there are more holiday traditions and obligations than time during those precious few weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. You don’t have to participate in all of them; pick your favorites instead.

Don’t enjoy baking? Don’t make cookies. Don’t see the point in holiday cards? Don’t send them. Don’t want to go to the neighborhood holiday party again this year? Have a night in with your family instead. Though you might feel pressure to participate in everything, remember the holiday season is about being merry and bright. Do what’s right for you and your family to ensure you feel that way.

Take a vacation

If you associate the holidays with bad memories or just don’t enjoy the holiday season, don’t feel pressured to celebrate. Instead, take a vacation. Get away for a while with friends or family or even on your own. You can even enjoy a staycation wherever you are by visiting tourist attractions you’d normally skip or trying new restaurants.

Remember: there is no single, perfect holiday season. Everyone celebrates differently, so find a way to truly enjoy your celebrations without stress. For more seasonal tips, read “Fun Ways to Stay Fit During the Holidays.”

From everyone at Women’s Care Florida, we wish you and your family a happy and healthy holiday.