5 Top Tips to beat Holiday Stress

The holiday season is a wonderful time of the year. Family, friends, good food, traveling, presents, parties, and the list goes on. Sometimes, however, the very things that make the holiday season special can cause added anxiety and stress. If you already deal with anxiety, the holiday season can ramp up those issues and leave you feeling less than jolly. 

What contributes to Holiday anxiety is different for each person, some common factors that many struggles with during this season are:

  1. Unrealistic expectations. Wanting that picture-perfect experience sets the bar really high and can leave you anxious if you fall short (and let’s face it, we fall short). 
  2. Changes in routine. School gets out and the kids are home, all the parties, holiday gatherings, and even changes in our diet can leave us feeling out of sorts.
  3. Less sunlight. Anyone else get hit hard by the changing season and it gets dark at 5:30pm? There’s actually a name for it: SAD (seasonal affective disorder); the colder temperatures and shorter days can lead to depression and anxiety. 
  4. FAMILY. Really, this could be a book. Either you adore your family but can’t spend enough time with them due to distance etc, or there is family-drama and spending time with them causes anxiety. Then there are family members that are no longer with you and the feelings of loss and sadness are front and center. 
  5. Financial stress. This can be the season of buy, buy, buy. It seems every store is having huge sales and the feeling is that you need to buy everyone a gift and buy, buy, buy. If you are on a budget or even conscious of your funds then this season can cause huge amounts of anxiety and lead to tension with your partner as well.

Fear not; there are some simple ways, with and without essential oils to manage these common factors once you are aware of them. Once you know what your triggers are, you can make a plan to work around them and enjoy your holiday season.

1. Simplify.

We always want a Pinterest-perfect holiday and want every single thing to be special and memory-worthy….HAHAHAHAHAHA, we choose sanity this year. In honor of self-care, we are going to simplify our expectations and our holiday.  Each person in our family picked ONE thing they really wanted to do this month and we voted on ONE activity (we picked seeing Christmas lights, making Christmas cookies, LOTS of crafting, and hosting a family Christmas party). We also got super honest about what could be accomplished as far as decorating/crafting/etc. and let some things go and kept it simple this year. 

We are already seeing the benefits of this — we’re spending more quality family time together, we feel relaxed, and we are enjoying these activities to the fullest. You can start by cutting out one or two activities this year and see how it goes for your family.

Essential Oil Hack: Having an assortment of oils to deal with the normal stresses of the holidays is a smart move. We deal with stress, anxiety, lack of sleep, depression, burnout,  among other things. Keeping them in reach and applied to your pressure points makes for a stress-less experience. Check out the kits here: 

2. Stick to your normal routine as much as possible. 

When the kids are out of school and we have to travel to see family, our routine goes right out the window. BUT that leads to some craziness. I’m talking about Wild Wild West craziness. In an effort to combat these changes, we try to stick to our normal routine as much as possible and be flexible when we can’t. We try to keep bedtimes the same because sleep is life. Without sleep, my children and I become little zombies with attitude and nobody needs that. 

I make a concerted effort to keep our diet the same, allowing for the occasional treats at parties and family gatherings. This is right up there with getting enough sleep because I have a tendency to think that food needs to be over the top and scream HOLIDAY during this season, but it also screams “Intestinal Distress, Mood Swings, and Irritability!” 

Essential Oil Hack: Do not stop your daily/weekly self care routines with your favorite oils. In fact add an extra self care routine to really treat yourself with kindness. Maybe use our Sleep Mist and Lotion to get everyone in a relaxed evening mood. 

  1. Let there be light.

Days are shorter, so make sure you're getting outside, and letting in the light. I get up earlier with the day, open all the blinds/windows and let as much natural light in as possible. Getting dark early can feel like the day is taken right out from under you, so do what you can to take a walk, feel the air and capture the light.

If you’re in an office setting, try taking breaks outside. They make special lamps that are made for people with SAD that offer help as well — can be super helpful to keep the pep in your step!

Essential Oil Hack: if you don't already, treating your SAD essential oil containing bright tones of citrus and bergamot helps with depression. Its been proven to help raise your vibration and keep the seasonal effect away.  Sunshine is perfect for this!

4. Family Etc.

Family and social drama seem inevitable. With people you love and people you are still trying to just tolerate. There’s an air of anxiety brewing just under the surface of all the surface holiday conversations. Every family dynamic is unique, but often stress and anxiety feelings are similar.  Try building in breaks into the day, step outside for fresh air and get a new perspective. Go to the bathroom, and take a breathwork moment. You can also find solace in the fact that it's temporary and infrequent, it’s only an uncomfortable situation for one day.. 

Grief also creeps in during this time of year. It still hurts. It’s nice to say a toast in their honor and focus on fond memories for those family members that didn’t get to meet them. And when you do feel that sadness, let it happen, instead of ignoring it, just don’t stay there. 

Essential Oil Hack: There is no essential oil to make them disappear or whisk you away to a deserted island. BUT the De-Stress is a lifesaver when dealing with potentially stressful social situations and helps keep your holiday mental game on. The Calm mini is perfect for your pocket or purse and you can reapply on your bathroom breaks as needed. 

5. Budget? What’s that?

Planning ahead wins! Some folks start buying small in January for the usual stocking stuffers and keeping bags for the following year. Most of us don’t live that life. So for the rest of us, it’s good to take a financial inventory mid-year, assess the rest of the year’s expenses, and work within that number reasonably. 

Taking a new position on gifts helps. Less is more. Not buying everything on the list, managing expectations. Taking a trip in lieu of gifts. There are a lot of ways to focus on quality over quantity and stay within budget. Some years we spend as much on decor as we do gifts! Settle down, Karen. Just focus on what brings you joy and let the rest stay at Home Goods. 

Most women bear the brunt of the holiday stress in terms of organizing, shopping, decorating, and planning.  It can be overwhelming. Give yourself grace. Take an inventory of everyone’s favorite things and focus on those and then STOP. 

Essential Oil Hack: Money stress is always based on fear. While there isn’t an oil that sprouts a money tree, focusing on giving, sharing and abundance is the best way to move through financial fear, generate gratitude, and manifest abundance in your life. Use the solar plexus chakra (yellow) roller ball to focus on abundance, and set your intentions. 

I wish you an anxiety-free holiday and precious family time. We’ve got this y’all. 

- Tara Obrien