Home / Blog / Happy and Healthy Holidays: 5 Tips to Reduce Stress

You’ve got three hours to do the laundry, wrap a present for your gift swap, buy ingredients to make cookies, chug some coffee, clean up the coffee you just spilled, make and eat dinner, call your mother, and make yourself look presentable for the holiday party. Sound familiar?

The holidays should be a time to relax and celebrate with the ones you love. Instead, it can turn into a month-long marathon of obligations and stress. Add kids or a job or even just a needy cat, and December can make your hair curl, as my grandfather would say. This is Olivia, the iNatural blogger, and we’re back with the third installment of our Happy and Healthy Holidays mini-series: 5 Tips to Reduce Stress.

One important but often overlooked aspect of health is stress. Stress makes you feel bad, obviously. It also affects other aspects of your life (like eating, sleeping, or spending time with friends) in a way that causes even more stress. Managing stress in a healthy way not only makes you happier, but it also improves your overall wellbeing. Try these tips to reduce stress levels during the holidays.

Christmas Tree -- Picjumbo

Tip 1: Maintain a normal schedule.

While the holiday season can be crazy, maintaining your normal routine as much as possible helps reduce stress. This means eating your normal breakfast, getting enough sleep, and making self-care — especially exercise — a priority. When I have five hundred errands to run, it’s easy to grab a pastry for breakfast and skip my workout routine. Resist the temptation to throw your normal schedule to the wind. Force yourself to eat well, get enough sleep, and make exercising a priority.

When you feel good, you’ll be more efficient. Taking time for yourself will make all your other tasks easier!

Tip 2: Make lists.

List everything you want to do. I even write down tasks like “finish the risotto before it goes bad” or “work on knitting the Christmas stockings.” Everything. Remember Tip #1? Don’t forget to schedule in time to take care of yourself.

Then get a blank piece of paper. Rewrite your list. I like to group tasks together based on type. All errands that require a car trip go in one column. Everything that’s time sensitive goes in another. Make it make sense to you. You can prioritize your tasks — I like to number them. Decide what order is best to accomplish the most important items and to finish everything efficiently.

When I put things on paper, I don’t feel like I have to remember fifty things at once. I just look at my list!

Tip 3: Be realistic.

Allow for imperfection. Nothing will be perfect — meals, gifts, events, even hairstyles. I’m not perfect, and my loved ones aren’t perfect. Why should the holidays change this? We are humans with foibles and follies. Our celebrations will be full of quirks, and that’s what makes them memorable.

I’m guilty of creating monstrously long to-do lists because I think I need to hand-knit Christmas stockings, make Christmas cookies, and create a curated holiday playlist. Realistically, I’ll try to accomplish just one thing — knitting stockings — and let go of the others. Even then, I have the sneaking suspicion that when I hang my stockings up on Christmas Eve, they’ll still have knitting needles in them and be only half-way finished.

By letting go of the need for a “perfect” holiday, you can actually enjoy the season.

Tip 4: Don’t be afraid to accept help.

Remember that to-do list? You don’t have to do it all by yourself. Ask your partner to help with chores. Enlist children to wrap presents. Realize that helpers won’t do tasks exactly as you would do them, and find your peace with that. Delegating tasks makes your life easier, and it can even lead to some extra family bonding time.

You don’t have to do everything the hard way, either. There’s no guilt in taking a shortcut. Since we are a catering company, we obviously put in a vote for getting some of your holiday celebrations fully or partially catered. Food preparation can be one of the most time-consuming holiday tasks.

Hint: iNatural Catering can accommodate many different dietary restrictions. We also love creating personalized menus. Just because it’s catered doesn’t mean it isn’t personal. Let us know how we can uphold your family traditions and give you a helping hand.

Tip 5: Breathe.

It’s normal to be stressed during the holiday season. Even if you’ve gotten extra sleep, planned ahead, tried to let go of perfection, and asked a family member to fold the laundry, things still go awry. When you feel your blood pressure rising, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths. This immediately calms the body down and helps mitigate your “fight or flight” response. As cliché as this seems, taking some calming breaths is the quickest, easiest way to manage a stressful event.

This has been Olivia, the iNatural blogger. I feel much calmer now; what about you? I hope you continue to enjoy your holidays. We’ll take a break from our mini-series next week, but we’ll be back soon! In the meantime, leave a comment to share your funniest “to-do” list entry. I definitely wrote “drink coffee from the orange mug” on my to-do list the other day.

As always, we welcome feedback. Just leave a comment below, email us at info@inaturalcatering.com, or use our contact form. Thanks, and we hope to hear from you soon.


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