Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Stay (Relatively) Stree Free This Holiday Season

The malls, the crowds, the commercials, the kids whining, the out of town relatives, the parties, the food, the presents...........

(Go ahead and scream, it's okay!)

We're 40 days away from Christmas, and it seems like the holiday season comes around earlier and earlier every year.  Trees are up in stores the day after Halloween, holiday tunes are playing on the radio stations, and Santa arrives in the malls across the city this weekend.

It's enough to make many of us extremely stressed out, like there aren't enough hours in the day, or enough dollars in your bank account, and like you just haven't got it right.  Maybe you or your partner aren't working and there is the added anxiety of how you are going to make Christmas work.  Maybe there is someone who is sick in your family, and aren't sure if they will make to the holidays.  Perhaps someone in your circle of friends is dealing with substance abuse, and you aren't sure whether to have them to your party, or how to deal with them when they're there.

While we are here for you 24/7, to talk about any stresses relating to the holidays coming up, we've complied a few tips to help you be less stressed this year.  By no means, will these suggestions work for everyone, but a little support can sometimes go a long way!

1) Make a budget & stick to it!  Stick with a set spending amount that won't make you stress this holiday season.  Remember, it is the thought behind the gift.  Are there kids in your life that you're buying for?  Look for gifts that keep them interested & occupied.  Little girls love anything they can make to show off - one example is a "Make Your Own Headband" kit.  10 headbands already made, and the little girl can decorate it with flowers, glitter, fabric and other things that come in the kit.  Add some accessories and extra stuff from Dollarama and you have a great gift for less that $30. 

2) Simplicity is best!  You do that big holiday party at your house every year, and go all out?  Keep things simple and classic.  Check out some easy DYI ideas on Pinterest using items you already have at home.  Or, again, hit up Dollarama, who has been bringing in some name brand items for $3.00 each, and their decorations are fabulous!

3)  Recruit Helpers!  Don't feel as if you're in this alone.  Get your family, friends, and kids to help you out.  Have tons of baking to do?   Recruit friends into a Cookie Exchange and stick with something simple.  Having the big dinner at your place?  Do it potluck style.  Don't refuse someone if they want to help with preparations or clean up!

4) Exercise!  It doesn't have to be a class at the gym every day, but at least 30 minutes every day, do some sort of exercise.  Have kids?  Put on some holiday tunes and have a dance party in your living room.  Like to see the lights at night?  Go for a brisk walk with someone!  Enjoy yoga?  Use free Youtube videos to do some deep breathing and stretching.  Your body and mind will be happier!

5) Get in some YOU time!  We're in the car, travelling back and forth from different households during the season, but remember that you need time for YOU.  Choose 1-2 days where you can just put your feet, and relax. 

6) Get your shopping done early!  Ask people you're buying for, for 3-5 items they're wanting by November 25th.  This gives you lots of time to get out and get your shopping done.  Does the thought of shopping with hundreds of people in a crowded mall turn your stomach?  Shop online!  Many outlets provide free shipping, along with a guarenteed arrival date before Christmas Eve.  Make a deadline date to get your shopping done.  Ask a family member or friends to watch your kids for an afternoon while you go out and play "Santa"

7) Volunteer!  Believe it or not, those who volunteer during the holiday season feel at peace with everything else in their lives.  While we're starting to accept applications for our January training classes, you can choose to volunteer with other holiday organizations liked Operation Rednose or the Salvation Army Kettlebell.  Then, apply online at to become a volunteer with us in 2013 :)

Hopefully some of these tips will help you relax a bit over the holiday season.  Remember that being with those you love & cherish is what Christmas is about!

613-238-3311 is how you can reach us 24/7 to talk about your holiday experiences, and if you are having anxiety or stressful feelings.

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