Sometimes I think I’ve heard all the holiday de-stressing tips 100 times. So I won’t make it 101.
Instead here are a few of my favorite unique ways to maintain perspective at this time of year.
1. Create one “Old Year Resolution.” Give yourself a focus between now and the end of this year. Why wait until January to focus on something positive for yourself? Your Old Year Resolution should be something that distracts you a bit from the holidays themselves, putting a positive focus on YOU. You deserve it.
Resolve to enjoy a cup of tea before bedtime each night. Focus on extra cuddling with your pet. Resolve to take short walks on your lunch-hour — or maybe resolve to simply TAKE a lunch hour instead of working through it. Resolve to lose a pound or two by the end of the year. Resolve to stop at your favorite coffee shop once a week until year end.
I’ve decided to give myself the luxury of reading an enjoyable book by the end of the year.
Paying less attention to a holiday can help reduce the stress of it and make it more fun. Dwelling on it increases stress.
2. Make a DON’T DO List. Give yourself a break. You’ve got one Old Year Resolution to focus on and certain tasks related to the holidays. Let everything else go. Give yourself permission to do so by making a list of what NOT to do. Honestly, there are probably plenty of things that don’t need to be done now and can be put off until January when your schedule will open up.
3. Double your Time Estimates. Feeling pressured for time takes the fun out of anything. It also increases the chance that you’ll wind up feeling crabby and stressed. Build in extra padding and you’ll have time to take a breath and enjoy the moments of this season more. Doubling your time estimates doubles your fun.
4. Give away a dollar a day. Thanks to my friend and colleague Patricia Clason of the Center for Creative Learning for this idea. Literally give one dollar bill a day away to someone you don’t know who is not asking for money. It’s a good distraction from holiday busy-ness, a nice thing to do, and a way to increase your abundance mentality. It’s also guaranteed to generate some good stories to tell as you notice your reactions and the reactions of recipients. Try it!
5. Remember Fun…Plan More. One study found that people who just thought about watching their favorite movie actually raised their endorphin levels by 27 percent. If you really think you can’t take the time for fun now, get your calendar out and schedule something fun for January. Literally get it on the calendar and if holiday stress gets you down, remind yourself about the fun you’ll have on that day in January and remember how fun that activity has been in the past.
6. Thank Them. How many people do you talk to in a day? With each one of them, do your best to thank them for something. This simple act will shift your mood and theirs, creating less stress for all.