Does such a thing even exist?!
I’d like to hope so! Whether you’re staying home in Kansas City or traveling for the holidays, here are some tips for holiday stress management.
1) Belly breathe
As much as we love seeing family, traveling for the holidays can be stressful. Try some belly breathing when you feel like you’re at your max. Take a large breath filling your belly up with air — imagine filling up a balloon in your stomach on your inhale. Try not to let your chest rise! Hold the inhale for 2-3 seconds and then exhale. Do this 5-10x.
Some of the most stress from the holiday season comes from endless to-do lists and the need to do everything ourselves. Maybe this year the kids can help you stick gifts for the grandparents into gift bags. Maybe your roommate or significant other can be the one to lick the envelopes for the Christmas cards. You can still hold the reins, but maybe just loosen the hold a bit!
3) Give yourself grace
Like me, you probably aren’t Instagram famous. Your house is a normal house with normal decorations and your kids are normal kids. Your tree might not be perfectly curated with coordinated ornaments and ribbon, but I’m sure there are some really special family ornaments that your kids love to see each year. Or maybe your kids don’t care — and that’s okay too!! It’s okay not to be picture perfect. Give yourself grace this season if your pie turns out a little burnt or your kid refuses to take off their Spiderman costume for family pictures. Take one of those deep belly breaths and try to shake it off.
4) Do something that YOU enjoy
Do you love baking? Do you love Christmas puzzles? Do you like to watch the cheesy Hallmark movies? Allow yourself to engage in some holiday self-care so that you aren’t pouring from an empty cup. Try your best to express your needs to your family so that they can support you. Check out our list below for more fun & festive ideas!
5) Move your body
According to the weather channel, we are going to have a mild December here in Kansas City! One of the best ways to get out of our heads is to go on a walk. If you have kids, consider making a holiday scavenger hunt and have them search for holiday blow ups, Christmas trees in windows, Christmas wreaths on doors, etc. You can print the Foundational Concepts scavenger hunt picture below! Since the pandemic, a lot of exercise instructors have begun posting free videos on YouTube — there’s everything from Christmas HIIT workouts, yoga and Just Dance workouts to holiday music, and more. You can also blast some Christmas music and dance your heart out!!
I hope you have an amazing holiday season.
— Shelby Powell, PT, DPT