We’ve all been there—rushing to get last-minute gifts, readying your home for out-of-town guests, hitting multiple school holiday concerts in one night, and prepping to host your annual Christmas Eve open house. Just when we want to feel and look our best for the holidays, we end up tired, overwhelmed and stressed out. If you are feeling not so wonderful at this most wonderful time of the year, read on for some realistic ways to keep stress to a minimum over the next few weeks.
Use the power of your calendar! Whether on your phone, in the cloud, or using old-fashioned paper and pen, get a calendar going for the month of December. Schedule any and all events: parties, shopping excursions, school concerts, and of course anything you are hosting at home. This visual tool will help you get organized in advance, and stay organized throughout the season.
Whether you opt for a quiet solo walk in the woods or a group run with buddies, time spent outdoors helps with focus, energy and staying positive. Even being outdoors playing with your kids or your favourite pup helps calm your brain and improves the quality of your sleep.
Stay Centred with Crystals
Using healing crystals can help your efforts to manage stress, especially when used alongside other wellness practices such as yoga and meditation. Gems like sodalite, kyanite, moonstone and rose quartz can help you stay anchored and centred during the worst of your holiday challenges.
LOCAL TIP: Shaman Sisters in Port Credit creates handcrafted jewelry with genuine, ethically sourced crystals and gemstones that bring positivity, healing, empowerment, and protection. What more do we need during a stressful holiday season?
You can get just about anything online these days—toys, gift wrap, party dresses, groceries and even socks with your dog’s face on them. Take advantage of all the amazing online shopping sites and save yourself lots of time this season. Just think of all the things you could do if you aren’t circling the mall parking lot for the 7th time…
Hit the Gym
It might be the last thing you feel like doing during the holiday season—but getting in a workout might just be the best thing for you when stress hits. You can blow off steam and leave feeling relaxed, energized, and ready to tackle the day.
LOCAL TIP: Fitness by the Lake in Port Credit is a family fitness and yoga studio that has a variety of classes, including mom & baby, prenatal, and options just for mom.
We often want to please others during the holidays, and it’s hard to turn down an invitation. Learning how to kindly say “no, thank you” will instantly help you feel calmer and will give you some much-needed breathing room.
Indulge in a massage
Reduced muscle tension, increased relaxation, stimulated lymphatic system, reduced stress hormones…are you feeling calmer yet? Massage has so many benefits, and many workplace benefit plans include massage as a covered paramedical expense.
LOCAL TIP: the Ontario Racquet Club (ORC) in Clarkson takes massage bookings from both members as well as non members—book a therapeutic, Thai, or hot stone massage to help alleviate anxiety and increase relaxation.
Limit your must-do traditions
Do you take the kids to chop down a Christmas tree every year? Always go for an ice skate on Christmas Eve? These activities are lots of fun, but don’t overschedule yourself in the name of holiday festivities. It’s ok to focus on one or two holiday traditions and leave the rest for another year.
Laughing helps us reduce stress hormones and allows our bodies and minds to relax. Head out to a comedy club, go see a blockbuster comedy at the movie theatre, or host friends for pizza and game night.
You may want to have a perfectly set dinner table, pinterest-worthy outdoor planters, or gift wrapping that looks like it could be featured on the front page of a magazine. Driving yourself to perfection is a surefire way to burn out and leave you stressed and exhausted.
Dinner is Served
Your in-laws are due to arrive at your house for dinner in T-minus three hours…you’re stuck at work with an urgent deadline…the kids need to be picked up from daycare…solve one of these problems by picking up dinner on your way home. Sure, you wanted it to be homemade…but your sanity is more important than a home cooked meal.
LOCAL TIP: Battaglia’s Lorne Park Marketplace has a fantastic selection of fresh entrees ready for same-day pickup. Family favourites like Macaroni & Cheese, Lasagna and Shepherd’s Pie will be the perfect solution on nights when cooking from scratch just doesn’t fit into your schedule.
It seems like holidays and spending money tend to go hand in hand…make this the year that you pre-plan your budget and work to stick to it. Schedule a weekly budget check-in, where you take a look at what you spent the previous week, what you have to spend in the upcoming week, and where you are at in terms of your overall holiday budget.
By Ilana Clamp
Fitness by the Lake