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Member Guest Blog: Stress Less for the Holidays

by Kristin Martelli, LMT, BCTMB, CPMT
Green Ridge Om & Wellness, LLC

Stress less for the holidays — it seems like a simple statement by itself. Holidays are supposed to be a joyous time of merriment and eggnog with friends and family, right? If you are the fortunate one that has a big, warm family that  lives close by that doesn’t care about the condition of your house, or that doesn’t expect a perfectly executed Pinterest dish on your table, this article is not for you. For the rest of us who put entirely way too much pressure on ourselves to have the “perfect” holiday, here are a few tips that can have you humming “Jingle Bells” in no time.

  • Take time for yourself this holiday season. We think tirelessly about what to buy, what to make or what to do for our family to bring them joy. While that seems noble enough, if you are forcing everyone to wear ugly sweaters, you might be missing the point of the season. If you cut away all the extra things on your holiday to-do-list, you have plenty of time to make time for yourself. You can’t bring anyone joy if you are tangled up in holiday lights or drenched in peppermint hot chocolate, sitting on Ebay bidding your mortgage payment away on a Hatchimal. Go get a massage or take that yoga class you always wanted to try. Bring your family a smile this holiday season. They don’t really like fruitcake anyway.
  • Make new traditions, or just let go of unrealistic expectations. Sometimes families change. We have loss, we have new additions, we don’t have the finances we used to or we just don’t feel like being a superhero this year. All of this is okay. There is no overall holiday rule in life that we have to do everything exactly the same way, year after year. For example, children of divorced parents may now be spending holidays in separate homes. Who says that your holiday has to be on a specific day? Celebrate the day before, or the day after the same way you do when the holiday falls on your custody year. This gives you twice the fun!  If you are grieving about a recent (or not-so-recent) loss, reach out to a supportive person in your life or to a professional mental health provider.
  • If you are finding yourself with fewer finances this year, this is a perfect opportunity to focus on what is really important. Your friends really don’t want that dollar store mug filled with chocolate. Plan a trip with them in the not-so-distant future instead.  Get creative and scale down. Who says your house has to look like the Grizwold family’s for you to not be a failure?  If you insist on decorating, there are thousands of ideas on the Internet for a very low budget  that don’t involve checking 25,000 bulbs. Making new traditions are a great way to focus on what is important to you now and can alleviate stress by doing something you actually enjoy.
  • Focus on your blessings. The perfect way to really appreciate what we really have is by helping those who are less fortunate than we are. Volunteer at a local charity over the holiday. Help out a local food or toy drive. Go caroling at a nursing home or even write a few holiday cards to soldiers stationed overseas. Science shows that helping others is clinically shown to lower stress. It just feels good to know that you can make a difference in someone else’s life. Spreading joy is contagious and brings peace to you and the person on the receiving end.  You can’t give joy unless you have it to give. Stress less this holiday season and share a little love instead.

Green Ridge Om and Wellness has been a member of The Chamber since 2015.