At EMVIO, we’ll be out of the office for a few days, so we’re getting in as much as possible: adjusting designs, planning tests, ironing out the last kinks in our Kickstarter campaign for our stress-measuring watch.
Then comes the team party, and some of us are traveling to see family outside of Moscow. Then it’s more parties, a bit of drinking, too much home-cooked food, old friends and frenemies to meet. Don’t forget to buy the perfect gifts. And then New Year’s brings another round of parties.
Even though it’s fulfilling to be with loved ones, we’re starting to feel in over our heads. Sound familiar?
Most of us face holiday stress because of high expectations and the overwhelming number of activities. (See MedicineNet for a thorough breakdown of the medical causes of holiday stress.) Besides the negative feelings, illnesses like colds, flu, digestive problems, and infections run rampant this time of year, and much of it is stress-induced.
It seems counterintuitive do less, but for many people, it’s the best way to keep stress from ruining the season.
Since we’re in the business of stress management, we’ve gathered up some of our best tips for beating holiday stress.
- Learn to say no: It’s tempting to say yes to each invitation, especially if you’ve got a short amount of time to see EVERYONE. Politely say “no” the the parties and activities you’ll find boring, and keep yourself limited to one or two activities a day. If you explain that you’ve got too much on your plate, people (especially your equally busy friends) will understand.
- Rest up: Regardless of your schedule, make time to sleep. You might not notice that you’ve stayed up late three nights in a row, but your crabby attitude and muddled thinking will give you away. You’ve probably got a few days’ vacation from work, so actually remember that it’s a vacation and go to bed!
- Take care of your body: With all the drinking and rich food that comes with the holidays, it’s easy to let stress build up and overcompensate with even more alcohol and food. Why neglect your body during the holiday, and then feel disgusted (and more stressed) with yourself as the New Year rolls in? Do something each day that makes you feel good: go for a walk, do yoga, play football with the kids, or meditate.
- Cultivate gratitude: Our favorite idea for beating stress is just to change your mind. Instead of focusing on the negative, think about what’s amazing about the holidays. You’ll be able to stay in the present with your loved ones, and enjoy the holidays for what they truly are - an opportunity to express love and affection.
- Lower your expectations: Not everyone can be Martha Stewart, and no one has time to make perfect decorations, food, and gifts. Sometimes, when things don’t go to plan, that’s what makes happy memories. No one remembers a perfect gingerbread house - but they’ll fondly remember a scorched black turkey, and having to go out for Chinese instead.
We wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Stay stress-free this week and enjoy the ride.
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