Stress Less This Holiday Season

I had the absolute pleasure of joining the CTV Morning Live show this morning to share my top tips on how to stress less this holiday season, so I wanted to share them with my dear podcast listeners!

I’ve been seeing this meme going around online that says “now it’s time to go from my regular anxiety up to my fancy anxiety.” SO MANY reshares of this image and it’s because we all feel it. December is typically the most stressful month of the year.

You’ve got year end wrap up at work, performance reviews, spending your budget (or making the last pennies work for you), and the work holiday party which can be great or terrible (rarely an in-between on that one).

You’ve got lots of social engagements, gifts to get for everyone, the financial strain of gift giving, making sure you make the mailing deadlines for your overseas family and friends if you’re like me, and trying to create this sense of MAGIC for everyone.

Sometimes magic feels stressful for the magic maker.

So, here’s what I have to say to help make this December a little less stressful for you!

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1. List Your Top Three

I don’t mean gifts, I mean what are the top three things you want to do/experience this holiday season? Do those three things. Everything else is gravy.

We think that we can do it all, pack it ALL in, but doing it all leads to all the stress that goes along with it.

For me, those three things are ice skating and hot chocolate, putting up my tree and decorations while listening to holiday music, and this year I really want to decorate gingerbread cookies with my kids.

For my husband, his three will be totally different. It’ll probably involve drinking port – a drink we only tend to have in December! For my son, different yet again. A visit with Santa, presents under the tree and likely going tobogganing.

Find your three things, do them first, then everything else is icing on the Christmas cake!

2. Keep Up Self Care Activities

What do you need to make you feel like yourself? Is it a good sweaty workout? Drinking tons of water? Lots of sleep? Journalling? Reading, yoga or a cup of tea, oh my? Whatever it is that feels restorative and rejuvenating to you, make sure you keep those on your calendar. They will be your guidepost through it all.

For me, I KNOW in my core that moving my body makes me feel better, and yet in minus twenty degrees it’s so easy to skip going to the swimming pool because frozen hair, y’all! So I’m going to have to up my home workouts instead, keep lots of veggies on hand and prepped, and make my bedtime non-negotiable.

3. Enlist Helpers

Why are women in particular taking on the role of holiday creator? We CANNOT DO IT ALL. Louder for the people in the back? WE CANNOT DO IT ALL!

Ask for help. Be it a family member who can babysit, or a friend that you swap services with (maybe they clean and you do holiday baking, or something), bring in the helpers.

If you’re in the position to be able to do so, hire help. Hire cleaners! My dear friend Maria at :AM Cleaning YYC is one of those weirdos who loves to clean, so let her take that off your plate. Other ideas could be meal prep services, snow removal, gift wrappers, etc. There are ways to take things off your plate.

4. Prepare For Those Challenging Conversations

We all have one or two of those challenging family members or coworkers that when thrown together you are like oil and water. This is where I’d point you to the episode we did on boundaries. Figure out what kind of boundary you need in place to feel safe around this person, then put it in place. Remember, YOU are valuable. YOU deserve to be protected. YOU can be your own knight in shining armor.

5. Make Time For Self Care Every Day

Not sure what this can look like? I’ve made a handy dandy little calendar here that you can download and try these 5-10 minute activities each day to bring some joy and peace to the holiday season. This is not meant to add more stress to your day, it’s mean to create pockets of rejuvenation.

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