Thanksgiving is upon us and the stress of the holiday season is looming. I look at my Christmas storage closet: 18 tubs of decorations, and I want to run away. Will the perfectionist in me rule again this year as I unpack garlands, candles, angels and hundreds of tree decorations? Would anyone care if I boycotted the lavish decor in favor of simplicity? No, but I feel the urge to repeat tradition. After all, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
As we embark on the busiest time of year, here are my favorite stress management tips to help you simplify, stay sane and giving THANKS instead of jumping off a cliff!
Take time for yourself. Women are notorious for becoming overworked and overstressed. Schedule some “me time” to rejuvenate your body, mind and spirit. Take a walk or even a nap, and unplug from all the noise and activity. You’ll be able to better serve others when you’re nourished and energized.
Have some fun! Put on some music, dance around the house, and have a good time while you’re cleaning, decorating and cooking. Laughter reduces stress hormones and increases health-enhancing hormones. It also increases blood flow and oxygenation of the blood, and can even lower blood pressure. Studies have even shown laughter can increase memory and learning.
Accept imperfect. Don’t stress over making everything look like Martha Stewart. Perfect is the enemy of great, and being obsessed with perfection causes you to miss out on many good things.
Nibble on a few indulgences. Fill up on smart foods. Obsessing over calories will just add stress and could make others uncomfortable as they fill their own plates. Eat protein and veggies, then reward yourself with a few bites of your favorite treats. You’re worth it!
Keep it simple. Ask for help, let others contribute to a potluck meal, or get bold and order all or some of your dinner from a local deli or restaurant. Assign tasks to your guests, even the children, to make them feel needed. People are coming to see YOU, not your home or dinner table, so strive for simplicity and more joy in your day.
Stay grateful. I love this quote by Albert Einstein: “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” From having food on your table and clean water to drink, to the immense freedoms we have because of the sacrifices of those who’ve gone before us, we should express gratitude every day. Express thanks to those who’ve made a difference in your life. It will be like a gift tied with a beautiful bow!
What are your favorite stress management tips?
Lots of good tips in here, thanks Susan. I used to get so stressed about any social event, I wanted everything to be perfect. I missed out on so many beautiful memories because I was either exhausted from the pre-work or in the kitchen putting lavish meals together – rather than actually being present with my guests. Now if it means buying a pre-cooked chicken and just making the sides myself in order to actually spend time with my guests, I’ll do it! Esther xx
Bravo, Esther! I join you in keeping things simple. A few years ago, I announced that we would be using paper plates for our dinner. Everyone cheered! No standing in the kitchen all afternoon washing dishes. You are so right…being present is the best “present” we can give our guests!
Oh I love that quote. I need to focus on everything as a miracle this holiday season. Happy decorating! xo
Gratitude is what the season is all about, isn’t it? I had lunch with my 92-year-old friend Lee yesterday. She is still going strong, driving herself around and writing a book. She has such a zest for life! And so much of it is because of her grateful attitude. Through adversity, she never kept looking up and seeing the miracles in every day. May we all be vivacious at 92 like Lee!