Auburn, Alabama — The holidays are a time to get away from your normal routine, be around friends and family, give thanks and celebrate traditions. For many of us, what is supposed to be an enjoyable time quickly turns into a stressful time of year.
Synithia Flowers, a regional extension agent who focuses on family and child development offers some good advice. “First, don’t try to control everything. Let your family help you. If you are hosting a holiday dinner, don’t put so much pressure on yourself to produce the perfect meal. Instead, assign every family member a dish to bring. “By having clear expectations and action plans, you will be able to maintain a sense of control and reduce associated anxiety and stress.”
This holiday season, instead of letting the anxieties of the busy, long days get to you, Flowers suggests using the following tips to help you have a more relaxed and positive holiday season.
Make time to exercise
It is very important during these colder months to get outside and soak up some Vitamin D. Going on a long walk or bike ride can help reduce stress and give you time to clear your head.
One of the best things about the holidays is coming home to the smell of fresh baked pumpkin bread, or any traditional holiday favorites on a cold winter night. This year, try to substitute some of your comfort food favorites for healthier alternatives. The cold weather already makes it hard to stay active and get out of the house. Heavy comfort foods are not going to keep you energized or feeling your best.
Don’t break the bank
The best presents aren’t always the most expensive, but the most thoughtful. If you find yourself stressed about all the money you are going to have to spend during the holidays, try to get creative. There are plenty of gifts that are more thoughtful and less expensive, like a photo book, picture frame, and of course, candles. Another way to save some money is to do a secret Santa with some of your close friends.
Follow these easy tips and your holiday season is sure to be one to celebrate. “It is important to allow some flexibility and to simply enjoy the magic of these once-a-year occasions,” Flowers said. Stay healthy, positive and organized and your holiday season will be less stressful.