Keep calm and take a break

Holiday Stress

Wish 2013 would just end already? Join the club! We’re all feeling exhausted, drained and completely lacking in focus and energy. The only thing that will help? A holiday. Yes, a long one. With sandy beaches, cocktails, sunshine and absolutely nothing to do except eat, nap and enjoy yourself.

Unfortunately that isn’t always possible. Some people will be working right through December and those that are lucky enough to get time off work might find that their holiday (and being around family) is even more stressful than being at the office.

We’ve got some tips and ideas on how to take a break this holiday season – how to find ways to rest, relax and enjoy the moment and most importantly, how to reduce December stress.

How to take a break :

  • Do something different every day. Whether it’s trying a new route to work, doing your groceries at a different supermarket or sampling a new flavour smoothie at the deli, sometimes a change is as good as a holiday. A break from routine can be invigorating.December Holidays
  • Get out of the office. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Take a walk around the block; go have a milkshake, a cup of coffee or a slice of cake. Distancing yourself from the office, even for a short period of time, can help replenish your patience levels.
  • Be smarter with your traffic time. Your commute will be much more enjoyable if you listen to audio books, new music or even change the radio station. Try to be more patient in traffic and remember that everyone else is just doing the same thing as you – trying to get to the office, or home from the office.
  • Eat dinner outside. It’s summer and we should be making the most of the warm weather – so get some fresh air while enjoying dinner together as a family, under the stars.
  • Go for a swim. Whether it’s in the pool in your backyard, at the municipal pool or the beach – a dip and a splash will do wonders for your mood!
  • Bake something. Even if it’s just a premixed box cake or cookies, getting out the rolling pin and making something yummy to share with your family, friends or colleagues is a good way to unwind.
  • Exercise. You don’t have to go for a full-on workout at the gym – taking the dogs for a walk is more than enough. Whatever you do, get your heart rate up!

Ways to reduce December stress:

  • Christmas ShoppingGet the presents sorted as early as possible. Make a list of gift ideas before you get started. Buy online if you can and take advantage of any festive special offers.
  • Decide on a gifting budget and stick to it – this will avoid additional stress when it comes to the tightest month of the year – January. To make it easier to stick to your budget, draw the cash you plan to spend and leave your wallet (and those dangerous credit cards) at home before you hit the mall.
  • If you have to leave gift-shopping to the last minute, try to make it as easy as possible. Get someone to look after the kids for a few hours so you can shop uninterrupted and get it done. Don’t forget the wrapping paper and sticky tape!
  • Shop for the ingredients you need for Christmas lunch/dinner (and the subsequent public holidays) before everyone else. The supermarkets will be a nightmare just before Christmas and you can avoid the queues and frayed tempers with a bit of planning. Again – make a list of everything you need, so you don’t have to wander the aisles aimlessly buying things you won’t need.
  • Delegate. If you’re having a family lunch/dinner, assign each person a dish/task. Whether it’s setting the table or making the potato salad, many hands make light work and reduce the stress.
  • Slow it down. Rushing around frantically between shops and running a million errands will only cause more stress and make you feel frazzled. Take your time and don’t try to get too much done in one day. Space out your to-do list over a few days, with time in between to relax and you’ll find it much easier to cope.

Keep CalmDecember and the holiday season can be extremely stressful, but with the right mindset and proper planning, it doesn’t have to be. Take each moment as it comes and try to enjoy time spent with friends and family. Before you know it, the holiday season will be done and it will be time to pack up the Christmas tree and head back to work or school.

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