8 Things You Can Do Now to Reduce Holiday Stress

Thanksgiving is just two weeks away! As excited as you might be for the holiday season, let’s face it: it’s one of the most stressful times of year. Luckily, there are several things you can do now to help you stay sane throughout the coming weeks.

1. Get your gifts.

Yes, holiday sales don’t start until Black Friday – but wouldn’t it be nice to not have to brave the mad retail rush? Consider doing your holiday gift shopping now. At the very least, figure out who’s getting what so you have fewer decisions to make later in the season. And don’t get trapped into thinking you can wait until the last minute because you’re shopping online! You don’t want to spend unnecessary money to make sure your gifts arrive on time.

2. Go to the gym.

It’s easy to put off going to the gym until New Year’s – but exercising is one of the best forms of stress relief. By starting your workout routine now, you up your chances of maintaing it even after a massive Thanksgiving meal.

3. Go to the grocery store. 

Speaking of Thanksgiving – have you bought your turkey yet? Most of us eat very specific meals on the major winter holidays. Buying the non-perishable ingredients now (or the ones you can freeze) will make your grocery trips that much less stressful. For bonus points, spend this weekend cooking up some healthy snacks and meals you can stick in your freezer. How nice would it be to have a home-cooked meal with barely any work when you’re really stressed out?

4. Plan the big days. 

We get it – it’s tough deciding where you’re going to go for Christmas if you don’t have a routine, especially if you’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. Not deciding seems easier. But the pressure’s just going to increase as the holidays get closer (not to mention the prices!). If you haven’t made the big decisions yet, just get it over with.

5. Meditate. 

Meditating is essential in every season – but it’s especially helpful when you’re panicking about whether you’re going to make your flight or where to seat finicky Aunt Bertha at the Thanksgiving table. But when you’re stressed out, it’s easy to say you don’t have time to meditate and put it on the back burner. That’s why it’s important to start the routine now! We recommend an app like Headspace.

6. Schedule a volunteer day.

When the holidays get stressful, helping out the less fortunate is a great way to remind yourself of the true spirit of the season. But the holidays are also one of the busiest volunteering seasons of the year – and nothing is more frustrating than trying to help out and realizing you can’t find a cause who will take you. So schedule a day now to help out in the upcoming weeks. You might also wish to pick a day where you do random acts of kindness with family and friends —  it’s fun and makes everyone feel good.

7. Look at your work schedule. 

The holidays are most stressful when family drama and work responsibilities pile up. But at least one of those things is avoidable! Ask your colleagues and bosses now what they need from you in the next two months, and figure out what you can get a head start on. It may require some extra hours in the office next week — but you’ll be thankful come December.

8. Say no. 

Another major cause of holiday stress is when we take on too much — whether it’s committing to too many holiday parties or agreeing to direct your child’s school play when you really just don’t have the time. Compare your responsibilities this season with what you’ve done and how you’ve felt in the past. And say NO to opportunities that might push you over the edge.

Liked this? Check out Why Playing an Instrument Is Good For Your Brain!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

Thanksgiving is just two weeks away! As excited as you might be for the holiday season, let’s face it: it’s one of the most stressful times of year. Luckily, there are several things you can do now to help you stay sane throughout the coming weeks.

1. Get your gifts.

Yes, holiday sales don’t start until Black Friday – but wouldn’t it be nice to not have to brave the mad retail rush? Consider doing your holiday gift shopping now. At the very least, figure out who’s getting what so you have fewer decisions to make later in the season. And don’t get trapped into thinking you can wait until the last minute because you’re shopping online! You don’t want to spend unnecessary money to make sure your gifts arrive on time.

2. Go to the gym.

It’s easy to put off going to the gym until New Year’s – but exercising is one of the best forms of stress relief. By starting your workout routine now, you up your chances of maintaing it even after a massive Thanksgiving meal.

3. Go to the grocery store. 

Speaking of Thanksgiving – have you bought your turkey yet? Most of us eat very specific meals on the major winter holidays. Buying the non-perishable ingredients now (or the ones you can freeze) will make your grocery trips that much less stressful. For bonus points, spend this weekend cooking up some healthy snacks and meals you can stick in your freezer. How nice would it be to have a home-cooked meal with barely any work when you’re really stressed out?

4. Plan the big days. 

We get it – it’s tough deciding where you’re going to go for Christmas if you don’t have a routine, especially if you’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. Not deciding seems easier. But the pressure’s just going to increase as the holidays get closer (not to mention the prices!). If you haven’t made the big decisions yet, just get it over with.

5. Meditate. 

Meditating is essential in every season – but it’s especially helpful when you’re panicking about whether you’re going to make your flight or where to seat finicky Aunt Bertha at the Thanksgiving table. But when you’re stressed out, it’s easy to say you don’t have time to meditate and put it on the back burner. That’s why it’s important to start the routine now! We recommend an app like Headspace.

6. Schedule a volunteer day.

When the holidays get stressful, helping out the less fortunate is a great way to remind yourself of the true spirit of the season. But the holidays are also one of the busiest volunteering seasons of the year – and nothing is more frustrating than trying to help out and realizing you can’t find a cause who will take you. So schedule a day now to help out in the upcoming weeks. You might also wish to pick a day where you do random acts of kindness with family and friends —  it’s fun and makes everyone feel good.

7. Look at your work schedule. 

The holidays are most stressful when family drama and work responsibilities pile up. But at least one of those things is avoidable! Ask your colleagues and bosses now what they need from you in the next two months, and figure out what you can get a head start on. It may require some extra hours in the office next week — but you’ll be thankful come December.

8. Say no. 

Another major cause of holiday stress is when we take on too much — whether it’s committing to too many holiday parties or agreeing to direct your child’s school play when you really just don’t have the time. Compare your responsibilities this season with what you’ve done and how you’ve felt in the past. And say NO to opportunities that might push you over the edge.

Liked this? Check out Why Playing an Instrument Is Good For Your Brain!

Written by Sasha Graffagna

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