How to Have More Joy & Less Stress During the Holidays

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

If that’s true, then why do the holidays make us feel like we’re experiencing some sort of month long panic attack?

From hurried and aggravated shoppers, to dull corporate office party after dull corporate office party.

The holidays don’t always feel that wonderful – so what gives?

Well, the problem is most of us, myself included,  have ridiculously high expectations for this season to be as perfect and as charming as a pretty holiday photo on Instagram.

So we take on more than we should and demand things be a certain way, which then makes us feel anxious and STRESSED when our reality doesn’t measure up to that flawless fantasy we created in our head.

So what’s the best way to dodge all the holiday stress?

Take a time-out.

Give yourself a break from the madness, it’s the best way to reenergize and refocus you on what’s important. Which will help you avoid holiday stress, or at the very least handle it better.

To help, today I’m giving you a list of tips you can implement to experience less stress and more joy during the holiday season, and honestly throughout the entire year.

11 Ways to Have Less Stress & More Joy During the Holidays

1. Set Limits – you don’t have to do everything, attend every function, or please every person. Save your sanity and put some limitations up. Only participate in your absolute favorite holiday traditions, decline anything that causes you unnecessary stress.

2. Seek laughter – Laughter is always good medicine as it relieves tension and instantly boosts your mood. Play games, watch your favorite comedy, or spend time with friends who have that special knack for making you smile.

3. Eat well – The better you treat your body, the healthier you will be and the better able you’ll be to handle stressful situations. You’re less likely to get sick and will be more energized throughout the season.

4. Catch your zzzz’s – I know for me a lack of sleep tends to escalate stressful times. Without a enough sleep we don’t operate as well physically, mentally, or emotionally, so be sure to get enough sleep each night.

5. Ask for help – This is a hard one for me as sometimes I let my pride get in the way of my well-being. But it’s important that you realize that you don’t have to do everything by yourself. Enlist the help of your partner, roommate, friends, siblings, children etc. As the saying goes – many hands make light work.

6. Stay active – It may be the last thing you feel like doing, especially when you’re stressed, but going for a run or hitting the gym can actually make you feel better. Exercise produces endorphins which help you handle stress and research has shown one workout can boost your mood for up to 12 hours.

7. Reserve some daily quiet time – One of the most calming and destressing practices you could introduce into your routine is spending some quiet time alone. You can meditate, pray, journal, or do anything you find calming. The point is to take some time for yourself to recharge.

8. Do less, enjoy more – The holidays tend to foster feelings of overabundance, as such we tend to go overboard to please others. From shopping and cooking to sending cards and attending every event. Instead of feeding into the more, more, more mentality try saying ‘no’ to a few things and enjoy more of the things you say yes to.

9. Unplug – The constant buzzing of text messages, emails, and social media alerts keep you in a perpetual state of distraction. Not only is it exhausting, but it adds to mounting stress levels. I know I tend to cut back my time on the blog and social media during this time of year. So try turning your gadgets off to fully enjoy your time spent with family and friends.

10. Finish early – There are few things more stressful than rushing through a mall with thousands of other shoppers, all hell bent on finishing their holiday shopping at the last minute. There’s traffic, it’s cold and snowy, the roads are a mess, the stores are crowded and you can’t find what you’re looking for. Ugh! No thank you. Save yourself the headache and get your shopping done bit by bit ahead of time.

11. Be easy on yourself – Most of the time the only person that expects perfection from you, is YOU. If you consider yourself to be your worst critic, then the stress of living up to your own expectations is probably stressing you out even more during this time of the year. Stop being so hard on yourself and relax a little.

Now the inevitable question is – What are you doing for the holidays?

Taking a trip? Staying home? Spending time with family?

I’d love to know – share with me in the comments!

Thanks so much for reading, commenting, and sharing this post!

Happy Holidays <3