Five stress-reducing strategies for the holidays

December is one of the most stressful times of year. If you don’t watch out, you could end up crying and in a terrible mess of anxiety. Here are five things you can do now to reduce the clutter and stress at the holidays:

  • Make a list. Whether it’s a grocery list, gift shopping list, or list of things you need to do — write it down. Once it’s out of your head and onto a sheet of paper, you’ll stop cluttering up your mind with the items and stressing out about trying to remember it all.
  • Check it twice … or as often as you need. Once you’ve made your lists, be sure to review them and/or bring them along with you. A list isn’t good to you if you don’t have it when you need it, where you need it. A to-do list should be reviewed regularly, until all items are completed.
  • Find out what’s naughty. Walk around your home and/or office with a laundry basket or box and pick up any items that are out of place, and then put them away. Do you have a used glass on your desk that should be returned to the kitchen? Do you have shoes in the middle of the living room floor that belong in your closet? Reduce the stress caused by visual clutter by putting everything back in its place.
  • Find out what’s nice. Take time each day to enjoy some down time. If you meditate, meditate. If you do yoga, do yoga. If you simply want to sit and drink your coffee in silence for 10 or 15 minutes, do that. Give your brain some much needed time off each day during this busy season.
  • Get ready to travel out of town. If you’re traveling or even if you’re staying put, now is the time to confirm all of your reservations — travel, hotel, dinner, movie — or those of your guests. The less you leave up in the air, the less you’ll worry about your plans between now and then. RSVP to parties, find out what you’re supposed to bring to holiday dinners, or even learn which friends are coming into town you’ll want to see while they’re visiting their relatives. Get everything on the calendar and be ready for as much as you can.

8 Comments for “Five stress-reducing strategies for the holidays”

  1. posted by [email protected] on

    What a fab post – love it – so wanted it to be going in the Santa Claus is coming to town direction… and it was! I made ‘My Simple Christmas Pledge’ on my blog earlier this week. This year is going to be the happiest, simplest and most stress free ever! Jo (simplybeingmum – “family life simply done”)

  2. posted by Dawn on

    I think I would lose my mind COMPLETELY if I didn’t keep our family calendar up-to-date and organized with all of our holiday activities. A visual planner keeps me on track for sure! – plus it lets the other family members see at-a-glance what’s coming up for the week.

    I even post things like “Final holiday meal grocery shopping today”, “mail Christmas cards”, etc. I don’t want to feel like I’m missing something or letting something slip by me because my brain is in overload, so I dearly love our family calendar!

    Thanks for this post!

  3. posted by chacha1 on

    Nicely done. 🙂

    I would be a complete mess without my calendar (which includes items such as bills due and grocery day), and I don’t even have kids to juggle.

  4. posted by Kitty on

    To continue with the theme song…

    • Be sure that you are sleeping. You won’t be productive if you are burning the candle at both ends. Eating well and sleeping enough are the first steps toward taking care of yourself. And without taking good care of yourself, you won’t be taking care of anyone or anything else.
    • Be awake when you’re awake. Open your eyes. Use your calendar. Be aware. Pay attention to those around you. Notice the little things.
    • Be good for goodness sake! You don’t need to be perfect, or make every detail work out the way you planned this year. Pick a few key points and make them special. Focus your efforts on the important pieces and let a few things go!

  5. posted by priest's wife on

    make a list??? yup- I am almost 40 and I never make lists- homeschooling 4 kids, working part-time….when will I learn?

  6. posted by editors at doing too much on

    Clever post, Erin! We were humming along in our heads as we read it.

    On the subject of to-do lists, master to-do lists (where you write down every single thing you have to do) can be very helpful but also a bit overwhelming. Sometimes just sitting down to write such a long list can feel daunting. And looking at a list that goes on for pages can make it seem like we have Mount Everest to climb.

    A good first step is to get in the habit of writing a daily to-do list. Instead of writing down all the things you have to do next week and next month, just write down the things you have to do tomorrow. (This should take no more than two or three minutes–a very manageable time commitment.) Then use the list as a roadmap for your day, checking things off as you go. We feel much more accomplished and organized, and we really do get more done, when we use daily to-do lists.

    Cheers, and happy holidays!

  7. posted by J on

    Nice post, Erin! All good points.

  8. posted by Living the Balanced Life on

    These are some absolutely great tips for the holiday! Love the song theme!
    We must also be taking care of ourselves year-round!

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