How I cope with holiday stress

For Blogmas day 10 I wanted to talk about stress, because we’re at the point in the holiday season when I start to feel it.

For me the stress doesn’t only come from not having enough time; it also comes from being in high demand. I know that sounds kind of terrible, but I’m what I like to call an extroverted introvert. I like people, I like being social, but after awhile I need to be done with other humans (except Dan because we live together, obvs) and just be alone. I need time to be in my house doing my own thing with no demands on my time. I need to be in a quiet, familiar place.

These things are hard to do during the holidays. There are events and parties and social/family obligations every weekend, and sometimes during the week. Plus work, which is an accepted fact of life. If I didn’t work from home I know this would be 1000 times worse, but I still have to put in a 40+ hour week. So there are a few things I’ve learned to do during the holiday season to keep my chill.

Get a planner.

No, this isn’t my planner. This is next level organization. But the owner of this planner schedules rest, and I’m on board.

This doesn’t have to be an expensive planner, or even a paper planner if you’re not into it. You can use the calendar in your phone, or reminders on your computer. The most important part about this is to find something that works for you that you’ll actually add things to and refer to occasionally. This has done wonders for my time management skills, which have been lacking for as long as I can remember. I can look at my week, or my month, and know when things are due, when my appointments are, when I’ve scheduled blog posts, everything to manage my life.

Schedule alone time, and stick to it.

It can be hard to do, but I know that I need it and I’m a much better friend/daughter/girlfriend/human when I get it. Once a week or so, I schedule (in my handy dandy planner) a day for myself. In pen. And, most importantly, I stick to it regardless of what else comes up. Teresa, you want to go to dinner? No thanks, I’m busy. Hey Teresa, do you want to go to this weird event? Oh I wish I could, but I already have plans. It feels super weird to tell people that I have plans when I’m literally just hanging out at home, but I have to make taking care of myself a priority.

Plan and track your gifts.

There’s currently a big box full of gifts in my office and looking at it is overwhelming, so I have a spreadsheet where I track recipients, what they’re getting, how much it cost, where it came from, whether or not I’ve received it, and whether or not it’s wrapped. This way I can make changes, know where to return things if I need to and keep track of my spending. I’ve been doing a variation of this for the last few years, but this year it’s gotten more detailed due to adding Dan’s family to my list and needing to keep track of who’s paying for what.

Take a bubble bath.

This is cliche, I know, but for me taking a bath is super relaxing. I leave my phone in my bedroom with the sound off so I can forget about it for awhile, fill my tub with hot water and whatever aromatherapy junk sounds good at the time, and just chill out. I try to clear my mind and just focus on the sound of the bubbles popping, and I stay there until the water is annoyingly cold. My water heater is tiny and barely fills the tub so this doesn’t take long, but I always feel better when I’m done. And I smell good. Bonus.

Turn your phone off and do something you enjoy.

This can be so hard to do. We all have people who rely on us, and being out of touch can create its own kind of stress, but for me it’s so worth it. I tell my partner and anyone else who might need me that I’ll be out of touch for awhile, turn off my phone and read. Or watch something mindless. Whatever appeals to me in the moment. It feels really good to just be ALONE. No one in my house, no one able to find me, no alert noises or vibrating phone. Just quiet.

Switch to tea.

I love my coffee. LOVE IT. If for some reason I couldn’t drink coffee I would cry big alligator tears and be a much more miserable person. When I’m stressed I switch to tea. Sometimes it’s green tea, which I know still has caffeine but it has other good stuff in it so I feel like it’s not as bad as my beloved coffee. Mostly it’s herbal tea; hibiscus, lemon ginger, things like that. It still gives me something hot to drink but it makes me feel more chilled out. It looks pretty, it smells good, what’s not to like?

Get some exercise.

This is something I need to do more of, as I’ve gotten out of the habit, but logically I know that it makes me feel better when I’m stressed. Even going for a quick walk helps. I’m going to start scheduling this again.

Take care of your skin.

This is one of the first thing that goes out the window for me when I’m busy and stressed. I wash my face of course, but there’s more to my skincare regimen. I have to remind myself to use masks and serums and moisturize to keep my skin glowing and acne free. When I look good I always feel better, so this is important to me.

Do you feel more stressed out during the holidays? How do you cope? Do you hate bubble baths? If you have any other suggestions for how to maintain what’s left of my sanity, let me know!

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