Preparing for holidays can cause many of us to go into a whirlwind of activity and, sometimes, even anxiety. This stress can eat at us and rob us of the joy that holidays are meant to bring. In order to have a nice holiday with your family and friends, you may want to try some preventative strategies to help reduce stress when you’re preparing for a holiday. And don’t forget to take it easy on yourself. Beating yourself up never helps reduce stress! If you’re feeling guilty about taking time for yourself, just remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup.

Ways to reduce the stress of holiday preparations:

Practice self care

Making your holiday preparation time more pleasant can help you care for yourself and self-soothe. This can look like a lot of different things for different people, because everyone enjoys different things. Some common strategies are to take a hot bath to relax, using your favorite products with scents you enjoy. Lighting candles can help make it feel special. Or, take the time to thoughtfully prepare one of your favorite meals. This can help perk up your appetite whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed by feelings of stress during the holidays. And don’t forget to move your body in the ways you like best. Even during the poor weather that can sometimes accompany the holiday season, going for a walk can help you reset and ground your emotions.

Lean into gratitude

Although it sounds like a cliche, it can help you combat feelings of stress to count your blessings. Meditating on all the parts and people in your life that bring you joy, nourishment, or help you survive, can help you cultivate a sense of gratefulness. This positive feeling can counterbalance feeling stressed as you prepare for the holidays.

Take care of others

Even if you are feeling stressed and may not have family or friends to care for during the holiday season, there is always someone who could use a helping hand. You might be able to volunteer for a cause that you care about–whether that means helping people, animals, or even local parks and natural preserve areas. Volunteering can help you set aside your own troubles and focus on making improvements for someone else’s benefit, which can help you gain perspective in your own life.

Take a deep breath

Studies have shown that meditation and mindfulness practices can go a long way to reducing the physical symptoms of stress. They can improve your mood, too. Focusing on your breathing can help you ground into the present moment and allow you to shift from worrying about the past or future. Getting more oxygen to your brain and bloodstream can help you physically feel less stressed, as well as helping you feel more emotionally refreshed, too.

Chenal Family Therapy can help you deal with stress and anxiety. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help your mental wellness.