The holidays are a time of family, friends, making memories, having parties, attending activities…and stress.
Stress is an unavoidable thing in life. Many times we associate stress with something bad that’s happened, but stress can come just from being busy–even being busy with good things! What time of year are we any busier than the holidays?
Stress is very unhealthy for us. It contributes to heart problems, cancer, diseases, and makes us more susceptible to everyday illnesses like colds and flus.
We can’t always control circumstances and schedules that cause stress, but we can do our best to control how it affects our bodies and practice ways to help us handle it better.
The Busy Mom’s Guide to a Stress-Free Holiday
The practical advice for having less stress is to plan ahead. For instance, I have almost all of my Christmas shopping done already, and 99% of the presents wrapped. This is HUGE for me. In years past, I would have been frantically wrapping presents late Christmas Eve after my children were in bed. Not this year. This year I have a lot less stress on me because most of it is done! This allows me time and energy for the next 2 weeks to put my focus on what really matters this time of year: giving to others and reaching people with the true message of the season. When I am behind on my shopping and gift wrapping and wondering if I’ll have time to get it done, I have a constant stress in the back of my mind that I’m “behind.”
Learn to Relax
When we know we are in an extra busy time or season of life, we must find times to drop everything and just relax. This is vital to good mental and physical health. Look at your schedule and see which holiday activities you have time for because, let’s face it, holiday activities and parties can become overwhelming in number. Everyone likes to have get-togethers and cozy gatherings this time of year. While you may appreciate being thought of and included in the plans, you simply do not have time or sanity for every single one. Learn to turn down the things that you just do not have time for and relax at home reading or watching a holiday movie.
Get Plenty of Sleep
As we sleep, our bodies repair themselves from the damage done by stress. If we don’t get enough hours of sleep a night, our bodies do not go through all the phases that are necessary for proper repair.
How much sleep do we need? I personally feel pretty great after 8 hours of sleep, but I can get by on 6 hours of sleep if I have to. And I also notice that I feel much better the more hours I sleep before midnight. It really makes a difference for me to go to bed at 10 instead of 11.
Here’s what The National Sleep Foundation recommends:
- Newborns (0-3 months): Sleep range narrowed to 14-17 hours each day (previously it was 12-18)
- Infants (4-11 months): Sleep range widened two hours to 12-15 hours (previously it was 14-15)
- Toddlers (1-2 years): Sleep range widened by one hour to 11-14 hours (previously it was 12-14)
- Preschoolers (3-5): Sleep range widened by one hour to 10-13 hours (previously it was 11-13)
- School age children (6-13): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours (previously it was 10-11)
- Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours (previously it was 8.5-9.5)
- Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
- Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category)
Apply essential oils to your temples, wrists, or anywhere you please to calm your nerves. Before applying, dilute 1 drop of essential oil with olive or coconut oil. You can also inhale the essential oil deeply or diffuse it.
Here are a few good stress-relieving oils:
Take Those Herbs
I have experienced the stress melt away as I sipped on herbal tea. I drink herbs for stress often because I lead such a busy life as a homeschool, cleaning, blogging mama.
Below are some great herbs to take for stress. You can take them in tea, capsule, or tincture form-though I prefer a hot tea most of the time when I am stressed. You can also blend these herbs together. I like to blend rose, lavender, oatstraw, lemon balm, chamomile, and chrysanthemum flowers to nourish the nervous system.