This is for the women readers of EverythingHealth. I truly don't believe men suffer from holiday stress.
The holidays can be huge stressors for women and Christmas/Chanukah is probably the worst. Let's look at all of the "extra" pressures we face during the holidays:
Buying presents, wrapping presents, worrying about spending money we don't have, visiting relatives or entertaining relatives, getting kids ready for school pageants or vacations, travel arrangements, preparing special meals, decorating the house and a tree and making sure everyone else is having a special time. I could go on and on but the point is made.
Stress is bad for us. It drives hormones that contribute to inflammation, heart disease and immune dysfunction. So what can we do to stop this holiday rat race and create a more joyous and fun time? Here are some tips:
- Bake and decorate holiday cookies with the kids or your girlfriends. Start a tradition and package the cookies as gifts. The kids will love the relaxing time with you and adding some good holiday tunes will get everyone in the mood. (This only works if you substitute the cookies for bought, wrapped gifts that no-one probably wants anyway)
- Get comfortable saying "No". Prioritize your time. You may not have to go to that party that would be a hassle. You may say "no" to the potluck that puts you over the edge. You might say "no" to stringing the Christmas lights...or delegate the job to someone else.
- Seek out music. Bundle up the family and go to a concert or have an evening at home with music, apple cider, a fire and everyone telling stories. If you don't have kids, this works with your partner. If you don't have a partner, this works with friends or even alone.
- Avoid malls and driving. There are amazing sales and free shipping with ordering on-line. Any day you can spend at home and away from crowds is a stress reducer.
- Try to do something charitable. Volunteer at a homeless kitchen, buy a "Toys for Tots". Get your kids or partner involved with this also. Giving is the ultimate stress reducer. No one has stress over generosity and giving.
- Try to avoid being the "producer" of your family holiday fun. Let it flow. Of course the mom is the CEO of the family but don't forget the old saying: "When mom is happy, everyone is happy." So delegate like a CEO and sit back and enjoy.