Planning a big meal. Facing crowds at the mall. Small talk with distant relatives. Does this sound like the holidays to you?
If you’re approaching the holiday season with equal measures of excitement and dread, we hear you. The holidays can be a wonderful time to spend with friends and family, but it also can be super stressful.
To help avoid holiday stress, here are 7 great ways to stay merry and bright this year.
Pick up the phone like Buddy
Did you know December 18th is National Answer the Phone like Buddy the Elf Day? Inspired by the lovable character from the 2003 film “Elf,” one week before Christmas, people are encouraged to pick up the phone by saying “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favorite color?” Go ahead and wear your most festive green and red clothing and make someone’s day by spreading some good old-fashioned holiday cheer.
Watch a holiday movie or two
Relax and destress with a holiday movie! With streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Disney +, there are now so many options for great holiday movies. Invite the whole family and make it an event with popcorn, cozy pillows and blankets, and twinkling lights.
Bake your favorite cookies
There’s nothing quite like the scent of freshly baked cookies to put you in a good mood. Dust of your cookbooks or find a family favorite recipe for cookies and get baking. Kids will love getting involved by measuring ingredients, mixing and cutting out the cookies into fun shapes. Set out the cookies for Santa or wrap them up and give them as gifts. If you’re concerned about sugar and calories, check out our picks for delicious yet nutritious cookies here.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help this holiday season! It’s easy to take on too much with kid’s activities, holiday shopping, meal planning, and visiting relatives. If you’re a “yes” person, lighten your load by delegating tasks. Get family and friends involved in the planning so you’re not left with all the work.
Create a holiday playlist
If wrapping presents feels more like a hassle and less like an enjoyable task, create a fun holiday playlist to play while you check off things on your to-do list. Set the tone with classic songs like “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” and “Feliz Navidad,” or just play your favorite music! Belting out your favorite tunes is one of the easiest yet most effective ways to decompress and power through unavoidable tasks.
Beat the winter blues by getting outside! For many Americans, the shorter days that mark the fall and winter season can take a toll on mental health, a common disorder known as seasonal affective disorder (SAD). If you’re one of those people who suffer from SAD, one of the best cures is getting some sunshine. Vitamin D is one of the body’s essential nutrients and the sun is one of the best sources. Take a morning walk, go on a bike ride, or have a snowball fight with friends. Sunshine and fresh air will do wonders at lowering your stress level.
Eat a balanced diet
Empty calories are a staple during the holidays. While you should go ahead and indulge, who are we to say no? Too much sugar, carbs, and saturated fats can make you feel sluggish and possibly even more stressed. Instead of cookies and cakes, load up your holiday plate with foods like dark leafy greens, squash, nuts, and salmon. Not only are they good for you, but they are rich in vitamins and antioxidants our brains love. On Christmas morning, swap muffins and pastries for a nourishing bowl of oatmeal topped with fresh berries. Yum!
What are some ways you fight stress during the holidays? Let us know in the comments below!
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