1. Simplify and slow down

With your to-do list growing, it may feel like you need to be in multiple places at once; however, what we know about the brain is that it cannot think 2 things at once. So, focus your entire attention to the task at hand rather than jumping from task to task (aka multitasking).

2. Be where you want to be

If you don’t feel like traveling, you deserve to stay home. If you don’t feel like being home, find a place that feels right for you. If you arrive somewhere and it is not feeling aligned for what you are needing, it is okay to excuse yourself.  Wherever is comfortable for you is the perfect place to be.

3. Put down the phones

I know, I said it. Just hear me out. Often times social media can impact our level of stress by comparing ourselves to others, especially when those others seem to have it all together. They have the catalog ready decorations, Martha Stewarts holiday food spread, or gifts we cannot afford. This can lead us into a down spiral. So, try to limit your access to your phone and engage with those around you.

4. Take a break

You have the right to take a minute (or more) for yourself. If you need a moment to step away from the holiday stress, tell those around you that you “need a break.” Grab a hot chocolate if you need an excuse to leave the room. Take a nap if you’re tired.  You don’t have to be busy if you don’t want to be. Tune into what you need in that moment. You cannot pour from an empty cup! Remember to fill your cup in ways that work for you.

5. Give yourself credit

Have you ever looked back on your day and said “I didn’t do anything today”?  That is a negative over generalization and can lead to feeling more defeated. Instead, remember to give yourself credit for ALL of the things you do throughout your day – from waking up, eating, brushing your teeth, and the list goes on. Before you know it, you will be mindful of how much you actually do, even if it is not on your growing holiday to-do list.

6. Gratitude

Research is growing on the importance and efficacy of practicing gratitude in daily life. Our brains are inherently negative so being intentional about shifting out of the holiday stress (and negativity) can help bring perspective and renew our enjoyment of the season.

  • Write down things you are thankful for in life. Focus on the small things (i.e., clean water, fresh air, etc). Nothing is too small to be grateful for in life.
  • Reflect one thing you believe you did well over the past year.
  • Compare yourself to a time in your past when you might have handled the holiday stress less effectively.

7. Feel how you feel

If today isn’t the day for holiday songs and cookie baking, that’s okay. Take a day for yourself without putting on a brave face or pretending everything is okay. If today feels like you might want to do something fun, do it! Don’t be afraid for others to see you and how you are feeling. The holidays are full of powerful emotions. You don’t have to feel how anyone expects you to feel. 

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