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5 Tips to Help You Shake Off Unnecessary Holiday Stress

The Holidays are here! We know how this time of the year can be: short, cold days (even in LA!) and stressful yet memorable, hopefully magical family-oriented times. We struggle even more than usual to find time and energy to work out; and it becomes harder and harder to stay focused on our own wellbeing let alone find gifts for others + get ourselves prepped for family and social gatherings.

Lucky for you, we’ve got your back with 5 helpful tips to help you shake off holiday stress + maintain your inner zen during this hectic time of year.

1. Empower yourself to say NO.
sad pup_247Though it is a definite challenge, mindful use of your time is a huge way to avoid stress during the holiday season. Believe us, we totally get it: there is so much to do ON TOP of your usual busy schedule; such a long task list; so much budgeting to tackle; so many invites to respond to. We too find ourselves buried in gift shopping, wrapping, family, traveling, much avoided emotion AND a need to get through it all with perfection. All this considered, it’s important to remember no one but you says you’ve got to sacrifice your personal wellbeing for some yule tide cheer.

You can say NO. Often times we forget that we have the power to respect our own needs, decline plans or conserve our time and energy; we say YES to everything and end up exhausted and overspent (endng up on our bed at the end of the day looking much like the above puppy). INSTEAD, empower yourself to pick and choose your commitments! It is important for your mental health to not overload yourself with hundreds of obligations, during the holiday season and always. Pick your battles: respect your time and keep the things that are truly important to you in your schedule.

2. Remember: the important people in your life do not care about the money behind your gift (and if they do, you have our permission to give them a friendly lesson of personal values; we’re never to old for coal 😉 ).couple_61Overspending because you feel obligated is not going to help anything. Anxiety over the amount of money you have spent, are going to spend or don’t have to spend is all a waste of time and valuable energy! Reality check: the intent behind your gifting is what is truly important. Realize that handmade things, and experiences are by far better than a Brookestone neck massager that someone will use once or twice and forget about. Memories are what stay with us forever; not that pair of designer leggings you’re pretty sure your best friend wants. Whether you find yourself tight on funds or just don’t know how to curb your inexplainable need to gift material things, remind yourself: people love you for what you give them every day; your friendship, your love, your kindness, that extra selfless mile. Need some meaning-making, budget respecting gift inspo?  Check out these awesome DIY ideas we love from Pinterest or, read up on our Last Minute, No Copout Holiday Gift Guide.

3. Be okay with adjusting your usual fitness routine as you STAY ACTIVE.
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Losing our usual routines (namely health and fitness) during the holiday season can be a huge contributor to stress and anxiety. We don’t need to be incredibly hard on ourselves but we DO need to find ways to maintain balance; we know it’s a challenge to counter overindulging in goodies, sleeping in, drinking hot toddies, and partying with the crazies we call our families + friends. Good news is, you’re not alone! But the trends of the season do not define you; you can still be kind to yourself!

Reward yourself for working out instead of punishing yourself for when you don’t; make a workout buddy agreement with a few friends to help you stay motivated; balance the christmas cookies with some kale and FORGIVE yourself for not sticking to your “normal” routine. Make simple adjustments: set your alarm 20 minutes earlier, make a healthy breakfast at home, drink tea over coffee, get 4-5 15 minute runs in instead of 2-3 hour long jaunts. Embrace the change and any little NEW routines you can add to your day to help you wake up in the morning and feel good about feeling good! ANY health + fitness is SOMETHING. Need some more ideas? Here are some additional tips to help you stay healthy + fit through this season of gluttony.

4.  Replace your visions of the “Perfect Holiday” and “Perfect Family” with GRATITUDE for what you DO have.

We call this “Perfect Holiday + Family Syndrome.” And we are all guilty of it some time or another. It’s real; and it’s very hard for a lot of people to get past this, especially during the holidays.

Our media and culture depicts perfect holiday families with perfect christmas trees and perfect mountains of perfectly wrapped gifts; we are set up to fail when we compare ourselves to visions of flawless people with impressive family dynamics, money, laughter and overly broadcasted success. Lets be real here; pretty sure the ideas that come from christmas cards or movies are just that: ideas. Doesn’t everyone have a little crazy in their family? Don’t we all do through ups and downs, divorces, break ups, layoffs, changes etc.?!

Find GRATITUDE for what you have, instead of what you lack. It really is as simple as that. Friends ARE family. THIS moment IS a gift. Who cares what the ornaments, the centerpieces and brand names are?! Who defines what a meaningful, special person or relationship in your life should look like?! YOU. Take this time to aim your attention to all the positive things you DO have in your life; appreciate your version of family + friends AND all the positive things about YOU. Don’t compare yourself to others, what they have, or how they outwardly appear. Things are always changing and all we have is fleeting; GRATITUDE helps us keep it real. No one is perfect and, in reality, we all have so many of the same things to deal with, regardless of different context and relative scales. Need some helpful daily practices to keep you grounded in this truth? Check out Wanderlust’s blog on 100 ways to find gratitude.

5. Ditch the FOMO for love and acceptance of your priorities. 

Life is busy and constantly moving, even without the holidays. Does this time of year have you feeling especially guilty about work obligations? OR left out that you can’t travel during the holidays? A lot of us encounter this, especially those of us with crazy schedules in big cities like LA; us millennials, hard workers, entrepreneurs and over achievers. But we’ve got goals and we are where we are because we CHOSE this path. Just because it’s the holiday doesn’t mean that priorities fall away; this idea complicates things, compiled with added pressure to travel, take time off or show face at social gatherings. Take a deep breathe and reassess. These festivities and pressures are temporary. But the priorities we have to face, the goals we are working towards and the time we have to put in to get there are staying AND important. Appreciate yourself for your hard work. It will pay off.  Things balance out. Travel time will come. And friends and family can forgive a busy schedule. We all have priorities. And it’s surprising how much weight is lifted off our shoulders when we let go of resentment and learn to love and accept that.

Remember, the holidays and EVERY DAY should be about cultivating happiness, positivity and love. Life isn’t perfect; our experience ebbs and flows. This is why we call it a journey and a PRACTICE (yes, on AND off the mat). Try to not to get consumed by the nonsense and remind yourself that you have 365 days of EVERY year to celebrate, show people you care, give gifts, take a trip and spend time with loved ones.