Holiday stress can put pressure on our entire lives and wreak havoc on our ability to maintain our inner peace. These weeks leading up to the holidays can be extremely stressful as we try to juggle our regular schedules and add in all the extra food to cook, shopping to do, family to invite (or not), and more. It can be frustrating, overwhelming, anxiety producing and stressful.

More often than not, we put extra pressure on ourselves thinking that everything has to be perfect, or wanting everything to be perfect or simply trying to accomplish too much with a short timeline. Add this to the stress of scheduling visits with family, having guests in your house, end of year work schedules and demands and you have a recipe for high stress and minimum rest.

So what do you do to help yourself through to the other side of the holidays?

Here are a few things that may help you deal with and manage it all:
1. Let go of your expectations of perfection. Not only is it overrated, it’s not always attainable (or maybe never). In fact, as with any event – and the holidays are usually a series of events, things can and do go wrong or not quite right, but the show must go on so let it go. Let yourself, your friends and your family off the hook and set your expectations appropriately.

2. Make sure you take mental health breaks each day or several times a week. Purposefully relax, in your favorite way, that could include meditation, a warm bath, deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, qigong, listen to your favorite music or whatever else you’ve found works for you. Set aside 10 – 15 minutes a day or 20 – 30 minutes every couple of days and you’ll make a huge impact on your stress levels.

3. Set expectations according to what you can actually accomplish. With a little planning and forethought you can figure out how much you can accomplish during the holiday season. Make a list of everything you want to do and include an estimate of how much time it will take to complete each task. Next, lay out your work schedule and how much time you’ll actually have each day and on the weekends to take care of that list. Remember to factor in time for rest and some relaxation. Next, let your friends and family know what they can expect from you, what events you can attend, how much, or how little, you have to put towards gifts, and etc. This helps establish appropriate expectations from you loved ones and can relieve a lot of stress associated with trying to meet others unrealistic expectations.

4. Make your own gifts. If your budget is low, or even if it isn’t, making your own gifts at home can be so much more personal and more fun than simply giving a gift card or buying something impersonal. There are thousands of ideas for DIY holiday gifts that are easy to make at home with a minimum investment in time and money but pack a wallop in conveying your love and personality.

5. Ask for help. With so much to do, you could probably use some help. Partner with a friend or engage your family to help you and each other with your to do lists. While it’s fun to do some shopping, cooking and wrapping on your own, it can be so much more fulfilling to cook together, shop together and support each other in getting everything accomplished. Going through the holiday preparations as a group or family can bring everyone closer and expand your connections and love for each other.

6. Most importantly, remember the reason for all your running around: be grateful and give thanks and celebrate with joy. When you keep in mind just how wonderful our holidays are and why we’re celebrating in the first place, the tension, stress and anxiety melt away.

These are just a few ideas to help you through this season feeling closer and more joyous than ever before. What do you do to manage your holidays? Click here to share your comments and help others with your ideas.

Author's Bio: 

Gia Cilento is a Life Coach, Speaker, Writer and Healer. She combines her training as a Massage Therapist and Reiki Master with her business, marketing and writing background to create articles, blogs meditations and programs that inspire, uplift and heal. Her life’s passion is helping people find inner peace through nurturing the Inner Sanctum – their sacred, inner well of healing energy. Gia is available for individual and group coaching, speaking engagements, distance Reiki/healing sessions and freelance writing projects.