Keep Calm this Holiday Season

Welcome to the hustle and bustle of holiday season! Some years it feels like the holidays aren’t so much festive celebrations as anxiety-inducing events.

So how did the season of gratitude and love become riddled with stress and panic? The unnecessary social pressures and the unnecessarily high standards we place our ourselves, result in way too much worry over getting things “right.” But when you finally become aware of how the anticipation of the holidays negatively affected peoples actual experience of the holidays, they were able to let go of perfection and immerse themselves in the fun.

I encourage you to try and let go you can transform the way you navigate these final few months of the year. Not sure how to start? Here are seven ways to find calm during a chaotic holiday season:

1. Find Your Focus

Before you launch into go-mode, take a deep breath and consider what the holidays are really all about. It may feel like parties, treats, and gifts are the sole motivators for surviving the season, but remember the things that truly matter: friends, family, kindness, and love (and okay, good food doesn’t hurt).

2. Stick to a Schedule

The quickest way for me to go nuts is to get off track with my regular routine. To avoid crankiness, I stick as closely to my regular eating and moving schedules as possible. That means, even during that notoriously indulgent break between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I maintain business as usual when I can.

3. Make Sleep a Priority

I have a tendency to stay up late during the holidays, trying to get everything done. But the best thing I can do is get a good night’s sleep and leave any outstanding tasks until the morning. That endless list of to-dos is always there when I wake up and I’m so much more prepared to tackle it when I’m not groggy.

4. Go Easy on the Booze

Party pooper alert! I know, I know, but I’m not saying you should ban all adult beverages; you should just know your limits. Alcohol is a depressant, which means it not only disrupts your sleep, but it wreaks havoc on your body and brain the next day—and don’t get me started on how it lowers your inhibitions, leading to everything from overeating to accidental gossip at the dinner table. Pre-select which events you feel are worthy of a drink, and imbibe wisely (no, you can’t choose all days ending in Y).

5. Stay Grateful

Here I go with the cliches, but…If I stay in a space of gratitude, I look at every event as an opportunity as opposed to a responsibility. So much of life is what goes on between our ears, and if we can influence our thoughts to be positive, then why not do everything possible to swing things in our favor?

6. Recognize the Insanity

Let’s face it, no matter how Zen we try to be, the holidays are just kind of crazy-making. And that’s okay! Acknowledge the chaos, confide in a friend, cry it out if you have to, and then hit the reset button.

7. When All Else Fails…Hide

This might sound silly, but hiding is one of my go-to coping strategies—and I know I’m not the only one! I’m not talking about a week-long escape to a private island (although that sounds amazing)—I mean grabbing a moment to myself somewhere in my house, away from all the friends, family, kids, and plus-ones. An abundance of loved ones is incredibly special, but it can also feel super intense, so hiding out for a few minutes can bring sweet relief. I highly recommend integrating your own mini hiding sessions into the holiday season—you’ll feel like you’re getting away with a sneaky secret, and the moment of peace will replenish your spirit (and patience).