Tips for finding peace in the midst of the 2020 holiday season
It’s December. For many, the holiday season comes with the gift of stress and pressure. Here is our guide to help you find calm in the crazy as you head into the holidays.
Step one: Identify the Stressors
For some,the holiday’s are something that bring joy, while for others, it brings chaos: financial stress, changing restrictions, family drama, reminders of loss, social pressures, and the list goes on. We all have different things that the holiday’s bring up. The emotional burdens that go along with different times of the year and the holiday season, in particular, are often drenched in crazy.
Besides the emotional stressors that come with the holidays, there are also stressors related to time. Coordinating schedules with your friends and family, planning out how to sync school and work breaks, and fitting in time to find calm is a challenge. And while the 2020 Holiday season looks different than usual and maybe has fewer requirements on your time, it adds its own little dose of stress into the mix.
For most, financial stress is the biggest struggle during the holiday season. This comes as icing on the cake of 2020 for most people. While navigating the holidays, we spend money on gifts, travel, food, etc. The financial burden of the holidays can feel crushing and overwhelming. The average Canadian expects to spend over $588 CADon holiday gifts in 2020, in addition to holiday travel and entertaining expenses (CPA, 2020). And our friends in America are expected to spend $1248 USD over the holidays on gifts, travel, and entertaining (PwC, 2020). This significant increase in expenses for the month of December is surely overwhelming.
Step Two: Accept that the Stress is There
The first step of conquering the problem is accepting that you are stressed. We often push down our stress allowing it to accumulate into a larger problem. Foolishly, we think that we can get through it without effort. Typically, this thinking leads to increased exhaustion and overwhelm, not the opposite. It is important to realize what is causing you stress and to take action and find a way to relieve the pressure you are feeling.
Step Three: Take Action to Relieve the Stress
After identifying the potential stressors and accepting they affect you, it’s time to take action. At this point, you may already have some ideas for how to reduce your feelings of anxiousness. Some of these pain points are avoidable while others are not.
Here are some simple actions you can take to naturally support your emotional health:
Exercise naturally lowers stress hormones like Cortisol and releases Endorphins, which helps to improve your mood (Healthline, 2020). Exercise is also a great way to take control of something and feel accomplishment.
Write it Down
Writing down what is stressing you is very helpful for recognizing what the stressors are and for acknowledging their impact as valid for yourself. This exercise is also an opportunity to step outside of your emotions and recognize your priorities.
Know when to say "No"
Often counteracting stress is as simple as saying no to some things. Due to the pressures and expectations of others, we often over-extend ourselves, especially during the holidays (although 2020 Christmas may look a little different). It is important to know our limits, define priorities, and make sure they are balanced, not only during the holidays but also throughout life.
Take a Breath
One simple way to relieve stress is by breathing. Yes, you read that right. Stop and focus on each inhale and exhale. This exercise promotes the wonderful feeling of calm. Close your eyes, count, and focus on the slow and methodical rhythm of inhaling through the nose and out of your mouth. This deep breathing breathing exercise slows your heart rate, counteracting stress (WebMD, 2020.)
Support your Body
One of the most important ways that you can reduce stress is by eating a balanced diet, moving your body everyday, and using natural calming natural aides, such as Lavender, Cedarwood, or Lemon essential oils.
What are you doing to slow down in the midst of your craziness? Have you stopped to take a breath and relax? Will you give yourself the space to find calm in the crazy? In the midst of uncertainty of 2020, let’s make the holiday season a little less stressful by taking action to find calm.
CPA, Holiday Spending Survey, 2020. https://www.cpacanada.ca/en/members-area/profession-news/2016/february/holiday-spending-survey
PwC, 2020 Canadian Holiday Outlook, 2020.
PwC, Holiday Outlook 2020: November Edition, 2020.
Holiday Outlook 2020: November edition
Healthline, 16 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety, 2020.
WebMD, Relaxation Techniques to Reduce Stress, 2020.