Go from Frazzled to Fab-YOU-lous this Holiday Season

10 Tips for Beating Holiday Stress

Christmas holiday stress. Stressed woman shopping for gifts holding christmas presents wearing red santa hat looking angry and distressed with funny expression on black chalkboard background.

The holiday season is upon us and for many of us, that means that it is time to get BUSY. There is holiday baking, shopping, decorating, wrapping and crafting to do. Not to mention the normal chores that need to be done like laundry, grocery shopping and dusting. Throw in a few office parties, kid’s holiday programs and cookie exchanges and before you know it, the month between Thanksgiving and Christmas can turn into one big, tinsel-tangled ball of chaos and exhaustion.

As women, I think that we are especially prone to holiday burn out because we women are often the ones who take it upon ourselves to make sure that everyone else (kids, spouse, friends, extended family, neighbors, co-workers, the postman, etc. etc.) has a magical and memorable holiday season. We get so wrapped up (pun intended) in making the holidays special for everyone else that we often find ourselves feeling rushed, frazzled and downright Grinchy.
Rather than letting the holidays get the best of you, make plans now to take mini-breaks throughout the coming days and weeks to help keep you grounded, connected and sane. The following list offers several ideas on how to make the most of these mini-breaks, and the best news is that none of these ideas requires more than fifteen minutes of time. Try implementing a few of these ideas between now and Christmas and you’ll find yourself joyfully savoring the holiday spirit rather than feeling overwhelmed by holiday expectations.
10 Simple Ideas to Take You from Frazzled to
Fab-YOU-lous this Holiday Season
(and they all take less than fifteen minutes!)

Woman in Christmas socks relaxing next to a wood burning stove

1.) Do Nothing: That’s right. Do NOTHING. Rather than feeling as though you have to cram every minute of every day full of activity, try taking fifteen minutes to quiet your thoughts, calm your breathing and indulge in a few minutes of stillness. Bringing just a few minutes of peace to each day will help to decrease your stress level, provide greater clarity and increase your energy. Sure, your to-do list will still be waiting for you after your fifteen minute break is over, but taking a little time to be still and connect with your spirit will enable you to return to your to-do list more consciously and with greater ease and grace.

2.) Get Some Fresh Air: Yes, it’s winter and therefore, cold outside. Still, few things are as invigorating and uplifting as a few deep lung-fulls of crisp, cold, fresh air. Now obviously, the goal here is to feel refreshed, not to get hypothermia; so if the temperatures are truly frigid, you probably don’t want to spend fifteen full minutes outside (unless you are well bundled). That being said, there is no reason that you can’t stick your head outside and take a few deep breaths. I especially like to go outside on cold, still nights, look up at the starry sky and take a few deep breaths while give thanks for all of my many blessings.
3.) Flip Through a Magazine, Read a Book or Browse Online: It might feel indulgent or like you are procrastinating, but if kept to fifteen minutes, a break like this can be just what you need to feel re-energized for whatever project you are working on. Taking your mind off of the task at hand for a few minutes can give your brain a chance to refresh and reboot. A short but satisfying break can often be just what you need to refuel fro the rest of the day.
4.) Declutter Your Car: We’re not talking a full detail job here, but taking fifteen quick minutes to get rid of trash, wipe down the dash and organize your CD’s can do a lot to make you feel better and more in control of your life and surroundings. It doesn’t sound like a lot of time but in a small amount of space (like your car) it is amazing the difference that can be made in a mere fifteen minutes. Our surroundings are often an outward expression of what is going on inside of us, thus a junky, trash filled car is a reflection of our inner state of being. Make a difference outwardly and inwardly by taking fifteen quick minutes to tidy things up. Your car will look better and you’ll feel better.

Active woman walking away from the camera through winter snow wearing pale pink boots in the countryside with copyspace in the foreground. Retro filter effect. ** Note: Shallow depth of field

5.) Get up and Move:  Grab your sneakers and take them for a walk around the block or around your office building. Try jump roping for three minutes without messing up. Give hula hooping a go. It doesn’t matter what kind of activity you engage in, it just matters that you get up and get moving. By adding mini bursts of activity to your day, you are not only helping to take care of your heart, you are also releasing endorphins into your system for a feel good effect that will last long after your activity has ceased.

6.) Fix Something: Is there a lightbulb that needs to be changed or a loose latch on the window that is driving you crazy? Is your computer acting up or is your car’s tire pressure too low? Rather than letting these annoyances continue to take up space in your mind, utilize fifteen minutes of time to address the issues and get them fixed. If you’re handy, grab a screwdriver and tighten the screw on that window latch or replace that pesky lightbulb. If you don’t know how to fix the problem (computer issues for example), use the time to call someone who does and get an appointment scheduled. These small annoyances might not seem like much, but it is ridiculous how much they can wear on us–especially when we are already stressed or on edge.  By taking the initiative and a few quick minutes to get these small problems fixed, you will no longer be distracted by them and will be able to focus your full attention on things that truly matter.

7.) Boost Your Mood: While all of these suggestions are meant to help uplift you and create a bit of calm in a season of chaos, this particular tip is about being more conscious in your efforts to boost your mood. The first step is to take a few minutes to connect with your emotions and assess where they are on a scale of Mr. Grinch to Buddy the Elf (hopefully you’ve seen the movie Elf, if not, GO RENT IT. Seriously, Will Farrell is hilarious!) If you find that your mood is a bit down in the dumps, ask yourself what specifically is making you feel this way. Maybe you’re feeling sleep deprived or perhaps you’re feeling unloved due to a spat with your honey. Once you’ve determined the root cause for your moodiness, look at the facts of the situation objectively and pinpoint any areas where you are adding more emotion than is called for. For example, could it be that your honey loves you very much but just happened to be a bit sleep deprived himself and therefore a tad grouchy? Once you’ve looked at the scenario objectively, take a few deep breaths, turn on some upbeat music, get a little bit of sunshine (yes, sunny days are a bit more scarce during the winter months but they do exist), inhale some wild orange or lemon essential oils and consciously make the effort to lift your mood. No matter what the circumstances, we always have the ability to determine our response and our attitude about it–you absolutely can gain control over your moods if you consciously choose to do so.

8.) Turn Your Bah Humbug into a Ho Ho Ho: There is a reason that people say “laughter is the best medicine”. Laughter can reduce stress in practically every human organ, boost our immune system and fight viruses. Put the protective power of laughter to work for you this holiday season by taking fifteen minutes to indulge in funny cat videos, knock-knock jokes or whatever it is that tickles your funny bone. A little laughter can do wonders to make any stressful situation more bearable.

9.) Practice Acupressure: The fleshy place between your index (pointer) finger and your thumb is called the hoku spot in traditional Chinese medicine. Applying firm pressure there for just 30 seconds can reduce stress and tension in your upper body. This easy acupressure point is good to remember if you start to feel overwhelmed by the holiday chaos; simply give your hand a squeeze and take a deep breath.

10.) Make a Plan: With the rush of the holiday season, we can find ourselves coming and going at a frantic pace. This exasperation becomes even more heightened when we arrive at a holiday party only to discover that we’ve left our hostess gift at home on the kitchen counter or we show up at our son’s music program thirty minutes late and miss his trombone solo. Minimize these incidents by taking a quick fifteen minutes to do some planning. Take a look at your week’s schedule and make a list of the things that you need to have ready for each appointment. If there are things that you need to purchase, make a note. If you need to RSVP, make a call. Spending a few extra minutes to go over your schedule and to-do list now can save you a lot of embarrassment and headache later.

By taking the steps now to plan mini breaks throughout the days and weeks to come and mindfully using those breaks in ways that will help you to feel more centered and connected to your spirit; you can ensure that this holiday season will be a FabYOUlous one for you and those closest to you.


Rockin' a FabYOUlous life as an author, speaker, blogger, coach and consumer of way too much caffeine. Let me help you to ditch the drab and find your FAB--it's possible and it's FUN!

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