The week leading up to Christmas can be a very stressful time, despite the joyous season. Many of us put undue pressures on ourselves to be the perfect parent giving that coveted gift to our child, the perfect hostess for the holiday gathering, or the perfect houseguest when visiting relatives. It is important to remember that many of these expectations are created in our own minds, and that the people who we think are holding us to these high standards probably aren’t.
Take a moment and reflect on your favorite childhood memories. They likely include the people and places that mean the most to us, and not necessarily the gifts we received. It is important to focus on the good things – the good deeds, the good food, the good times shared – and let the little things go. No one will notice if the bow on the package is crooked, if the Christmas tree doesn’t have an angel on top, or if the outdoor lights aren’t as bright as they were last year.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by the stress of the season, here are a few things to try to give yourself a break, some time to catch your breath, so you can tackle the next challenge in a better mindset.
• Take a walk. A brisk 10-minute walk down the street will get your blood flowing and re-energize you. It can also help clear your head while releasing feel-good endorphins from the exercise. If your company is driving you crazy or your kids aren’t cleaning up their rooms, taking a walk can give you the time you need to take a break from the situation.
• Take a bath. At the end of a stressful day, add some Epsom salt and lavender essential oil to a warm bath and soak for 20 minutes before bed. The salts and lavender will calm you and relax your muscles, therefore helping you have a better night’s sleep. And a good night’s rest always makes facing the next day a little easier.
• Take note. Writing down a to-do list and checking things off as you go helps you feel a sense of accomplishment and will keep you organized and focused.
So take a moment for you this week and enjoy a glass of wine by the fire after you wrap gifts. The holidays will be over before you know it, and you won’t want to miss a thing!