Heart Led Health by Coach Donna

Tuesday / December 07 / 2021

Timely Tips to Keep Holiday Stressors at Bay

Check out my latest article published on Herself360, an online magazine that supports & encourages women to connect through stories. Read my article on their site here.

Following is the full article in its entirety 

The holidays have sneaked up on us once again. Now that they’re here, this can be the most wonderful time of the year or, can cause stress and anxiety. I vote for the first one.

Am I the only one with an endless laundry list of coordinating family get togethers, finding perfect gifts, decorating our home like a winter wonderland, sending out holiday cards (does anyone else still do this?) and keeping up with traditions? Not to mention cooking, cleaning, shopping, oh, and walking the dog, who’s currently covered in tinsel.

This month, let’s be intentional to make time to relax and embrace ways to focus on ourselves. Haha, ladies – I hear that laughter in your heads shouting sarcastically, “sure, but WHEN?”

Let’s start with this truth, there are many health benefits linked to relaxing, like pain relief and heart health. It’s not only OK to focus on yourself during the hustle + bustle, but also important for your health.

There are several ways you can minimize stress during this festive time of the year, despite all the demands that seem to keep piling up.

5 Timely Tips to Keep Holiday Stressors at Bay:

(1) Plan your shopping
Organize your shopping strategically by setting a budget, writing down your gift list, and safely shopping in stores or online. Like many of you, I’m a big proponent of shopping local and with fellow women entrepreneurs.

(2) Invest in yourself
The more things on your to-do list, the more important it is to take time for self-care so you can approach your tasks with presence and positivity. Give yourself an early present by dedicating time to your favorite activity or treating yourself to an at-home spa day. I’ve included some bonus Relaxation Tips below.

(3) Choose quality over quantity
Keeping up with traditions and planning safe holiday activities are fun but can be overwhelming. We can also go overboard while trying to make everything perfect. Remember that spending quality time with loved ones is most important. So, don’t stress if you don’t get around to sending out the aforementioned holiday cards this year.

(4) Know your limits
Again, I hear that laughter in your head! If you are overwhelmed with extra chores or tasks this holiday season, pull in others to help. Prioritize which items need your attention first and if certain tasks can wait, place them on the back burner and revisit them when the holiday hustle + bustle begins to settle. Side note: self-care is NOT a back burner item.

(5) Take a mindful break
If you’re feeling symptoms of stress or anxiety, or if you want to set the stage for an optimal day, stop and take a quick relaxation break. Check out my Relaxation Tips below for ideas.

I encourage you to not let the holidays overwhelm you. Instead, identify your holiday triggers and address them in advance so you can thrive this holiday season. As you consider the importance of your self-care, following are some self-care tips. Try one or any combination to help you relax, remain calm, and be present.

Relaxation Tips for Self-Care:

Simply breathe. Breathing is one of the few things our bodies cannot live without. Therefore, it has a major effect on us, both consciously and unconsciously. Close your eyes and inhale slowly and fully, pulling the air in through your nose. Hold your breath for just a beat and then, exhale slowly and deliberately through your mouth like you’re blowing through a straw. Do this a few times and then open your eyes and continue with what you were doing. This is one of the most effective methods for bringing the body and mind to a relaxed state.

Burn a candle
Have your favorite scented or unscented candle lit in the background as you go about your to-do-list. As the weather gets cooler, consider cozying up next to the candle with a nice blanket and book. This is sure to relax you and keep you calm. Just be sure to blow the candle out before you go to sleep or leave the house, please.

Take a bubble bath
My personal favorite. Soothe your mind and body with a nice hot bath. You can add things like Epsom salts and essential oils to help transform your bathroom into a spa-like atmosphere. Soak for at least 20 minutes with the door locked so you can be left alone to drift into your calming happy place. If you don’t have a bathtub, try a warm shower with some eucalyptus drops, tablets, or sprays.

Channel your inner child and pull out those colored pencils or grab your kids’ crayons. If you don’t have access to a coloring book, there are many free printable pages online or certainly, you can color freestyle. Concentrating on coloring will help focus your mind away from your stressors. Allow your mind to drift into the pages and embrace your creativity.

Five years ago, my friend Candace sent me a holiday greeting with a typo, “Messy Christmas!” I loved it so much, I adopted it. Most everything about the holidays SHOULD be messy, making gingerbread houses, gift wrapping, Grandma’s homemade pierogis, even holiday parties. They go hand-in-hand with the messiness and imperfection of our families, love, and humankind.

No matter where you are in life right now, my sister, know you deserve to enjoy every morsel of this season. Be perfectly Imperfect You. And, please have a very Messy Christmas and holiday season.

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