Whether you’re sticking close to home or traveling for the holidays to visit family, you may be feeling equal parts joyful — and stressed. Recognizing the potential for stress during this busy time of the year is a first step towards managing it and actually enjoying the season. Here are six tips to help you cope:
Make a List
There’s a reason Santa’s checking his twice—and that’s because he doesn’t want to forget anyone. Neither do you. A report in Psychology Today says storing all those details like family members’ clothing size or connecting flights is an energy suck and a waste of brain power. Rather than commit so much to memory, make multiple lists for everything from holiday gifts to menu to travel.
Whether it’s your spiritual practice, traditions or family, being mindful helps you feel less frazzled. “It is hard to stop and smell the roses at any time of year, and it is especially easy to get caught up in the commercial version of what the holiday season means today,” Jennifer Wolkin writes in Mindful. Instead, take a moment — or several — to reflect on what really matters. Hint: it’s not the perfect pie crust.
Create a Haven
If you’re staying at a hotel during holiday travel, you can create your own refuge at EVEN Hotels, which feature amenities like an in-room yoga mat, group classes at the Athletic Studio and healthy eats at the Cork & Kale Market & Bar. Your stress level will likely drop if you incorporate a good night’s sleep, healthy foods and exercise into your holiday routine.
Gratitude serves to balance the scales of stress when you consider how much you have to be thankful for, even things that you’re glad only happen once a year. Go ahead and let yourself feel grateful for cranky Uncle Bill and his funny stories at the holiday gathering — or your grandmother’s Jell-O mold. It’s the little things that make your holiday special.
Time Your Flights Right
It’s simple to do a search for your flight number before booking and check the statistics on that flight’s delays and cancellations. Try to choose a flight that doesn’t have a high percentage of delays, especially if you’re traveling with children.
Treat Yourself Well
Savvy parents know to save few new toys for their toddler for a long flight. It works for grown-ups, too. Save something special for you to savor during the holidays, whether you’re sticking close to home or hitting the road — a book you haven’t had time to read, a favorite snack or the latest episodes of your favorite podcast.