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11 Strategies To Reduce Holiday Stress (And Take Care of Your Mental Health)

Updated: Feb 5, 2020

It’s that time of year.

There’s too much of some things – like shopping, partying, eating and working – and too, little of others, namely sunshine, rest and sleep. However merry this season may be, it still causes stress and overwhelm for a lot of people, along with a host of stress-related symptoms such as headaches, lack of energy and fatigue, irritability and a weakened immune system.

Where did we all go wrong?

Having a festive and relaxing holiday season is possible, but it requires all of us to prioritize self care above all else.

That doesn't mean ignoring your to-do list or not attending holiday parties – it means setting boundaries, respecting your limits, and treating your body like a temple instead of a trashcan.

You'll come out the other side noticeably happier, relaxed and less stressed. If that sounds good to you but far out of reach, we recommend trying to implement the strategies below, or at least a handful of them to feel a difference.

11 Practical Ways To Reduce Holiday Stress

1. Let go of perfection

Don't create expectations based on what you see in your Instagram feed or holiday movies on Netflix. In reality, most of us won't have the perfect Martha Stewart table setting, be able to get everyone excited about a family photo, have in-laws that don't grate on our nerves, or manage to keep the house clean at all times.

The more you place unrealistic expectations on yourself and demand perfection, the more likely it is that you're going to feel anxious, overwhelmed and not really enjoy the holiday season.

Instead, come to terms with the fact that not everything will go right, but try to focus on what does go right and be grateful for the good moments.

2. Keep moving

The holiday season isn't an excuse to stop exercising or become a couch potato. In fact, it's more of a reason to do so. Exercise helps us get our of our heads, release tension and anxiety, and improve mood.

If you have a regular exercise routine, stick to it. If you don't make time for a daily walk in the fresh air (yes, even if it's cold) or to do a quick home workout. A good time to go for a walk is first thing in the morning or late at night, when your phone won't buzz, the streets are quieter, and there's room to think and reflect.

3. Be playful and laugh, a lot

Being a good parent, partner or friend doesn't mean buying the perfect gifts or organizing the best party, the most important thing is to leave some time to Leave some room for spontaneity and playing with the kids outside, baking imperfect cookies or spending all afternoon making a snowman.

Give yourself permission to let go and act childish, it's okay.

4. Be mindful of your budget

Spend within your means, if not below your means this holiday season. There is no point going into debt to buy gifts you feel you should get and creating more financial stress for yourself.

Instead of focusing on buying impressive gifts, focus on spending enough quality time with the people you care about. For example, your mother will probably appreciate a morning blocked off for just the two of you and going to brunch, instead of expensive jewelry.

5. Don't be a hero, ask for help

Repeat after us: you don't have to do everything alone. If you need help preparing dinner, running errands, picking up gifts or finishing up chores at home, simply ask your family to help out by giving them specific tasks.

6. Create a soothing environment

Take the time to put on some uplifting music, light some candles or spray some Veeva aromatherapy essential oil mists around the house.

Research has found that certain scents such as citrus can energize and improve mood (1) – and it's why we've included citrus scents like sweet orange and lime in both of our stress and anxiety mists as well!

7. Get enough sleep

If you're not getting enough sleep, you're not going to be able to fully enjoy the holiday season. Make sure you're well rested so that you're not snapping at your family or feeling drained and exhausted at parties.

Learn to respect and listen to your body – there's no shame in leaving a party a little early or putting off a few errands till the next day if you're tired. If you have trouble falling asleep for 7-9 hours, consider wearing an eye mask, turning off screens an hour before bed or trying out our natural Sleep Formula.

8. Say 'no' more often

If your holiday season is always over-scheduled and you have no actual downtime, it's a red flag that you don't know how to say no and prioritize self care.

Remember, you don't have to say yes to every social commitment that you get invited to, so don't feel obligated to put it into your calendar immediately. Assess if it's something you actually need to or want to attend, and then respond with your RSVP. A good rule of thumb is to turn down at least one or two events each holiday season.

Use that time to unwind at home instead. In fact, make sure you leave at least one day this holiday season where you do absolutely nothing at all.

9. Use Veeva Stress Formula

If you find yourself getting extra snappy, emotional, exhausted or overwhelmed during the holiday season, consider supplementing with our Stress Formula. Formulated with the top herbs and nutrients available for chronic stress, it helps reduce reactivity under stressful situations, alleviate mental fatigue, improve mental performance and promotes a healthy mood.

10. Turn off notifications

For the few days you have off with your family, turn off all email and social media notifications. Use this time to do a digital detox, feel more present in the moment and connect more to the life around you instead of inside your screen.

11. Treat your body like a temple

For some reason, we use the holiday season as an excuse to eat and drink excessively, and then feel terrible about it afterward! Make sure you eat regular, balanced meals that focus on whole foods instead of processed foods, and leave a little room to indulge. There's no need to deprive yourself and avoid shortbread, sugar cookies or pie, but there's a difference between a small polite serving and binging on everything in sight!

We hope these strategies help you, and wish you a very relaxing, joyful and rejuvenating holiday season!

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