Lower Stress and Keep Things Simple

Meditation: Ervin BacikI tend to get a little more emotional throughout the holiday season. That’s not always a bad thing but there are things we can do to keep things less hectic. Here are some suggestions to de-stress and simplify the holidays at the same time.

Food Shortcuts

Raw fruit and vegetables are better for you and they’re simpler since you don’t have to cook them. Cut into bite size portions and store for quick healthy snacking. If they’re too bland, try making a dip with yogurt or light sour cream. Hummus, which is made with chickpeas, is good with most vegetables.

Sometimes I go on cooking spurts so I’ll make mad muffins and freeze half of them for the future. You can also do this with spaghetti sauce, chili, taco filling, meatballs, cookies and more. It won’t take you much longer to cook larger batches, but it will save you time in the future.

Cleaning and Organizing

  • Put a few extra over the door hooks up so no one will be tempted to throw their coats, scarves or hats on furniture.
  • List all the regular household tasks that need to be done. Get each capable family member to pick 2 items on the list and check them off when complete.
  • We just put a storage trunk/bench at the front entrance since there is no closet there. It hides boots and shoes that collect as people enter. In the winter, line it with cardboard.
  • Keep wrapping paper, scissors, tape and tags together in a box under your bed. You’ll always know where it is and it won’t be messing up your house.  Save colorful fliers to use as wrapping paper or padding in gifts.

Stress Busters

  • Keep a back up play list of uplifting music to have ready when you need a boost. This helps you get through those tedious tasks like laundry, dishes or wrapping gifts.
  • Listen to a book about positive thinking. Consider recording your own positive affirmations and playing them back when you start thinking negatively.

This is a good method for replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. For example if you beat yourself up when you make mistakes, be prepared with responses. “I learned from this experience.” “Everybody makes mistakes.” “I know to do it differently next time.”

  • If it’s cold out, bundle up and go for a walk, skate or ski anyway. Another option is to join a gym and get some exercise there. A gym has the added benefit of socializing. Sometimes people are down because they’re lonely, so if they force themselves to get out and socialize it helps.

Give yourself some time to be alone. This is harder for parents with young children but even a brief bath with a lit candle can rejuvenate you. If possible get a sitter and pamper yourself longer.

For more ideas see 10 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues.


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