Oh, the holidays...They can be sooo bittersweet. The celebrations, gifts and yummy treats make us swoon, but the sheer madness required to make these beautiful memories possible typically leads to complete burnout. Is it possible to get yourself back on track come Jan 1st?
Of course! To start January on the right foot, you first need a simple, practical plan to lower your stress. The holiday hooplah and nutrition-lacking treats can really take a toll on your mind and body. Follow these three key steps and you’ll be on your way to post-holiday bliss in no time.
*Step 1: What works best for YOU? * Remind yourself how you reduce daily stress. What works for you personally? Is it exercise, breathing or meditation? Laughing, being in nature, eating magnesium rich foods like avocado and nuts? Select a stress-busting activity, choose how often you can commit to it and then cut that number in half to be realistic. It’s important for you to start somewhere and starting slowly increases your likelihood of success!
*Step 2: What can you change? * Ask yourself which daily activities are the most stressful and the least enjoyable to you. What are one to two things you can do differently this January?
While some activities like paying bills and household chores are unavoidable, there’s plenty you can do differently to reduce holiday-induced stress. My favorite way to get organized and promote relaxation in the new year is to block a couple of weekends in January for no major activities or get togethers. Taking time to put away decorations and decompress all while reconnecting with your immediate family is rejuvenating.
Another stressful task: cooking healthy meals when your post-vacation to-do list is longer than ever. My suggestion is to make a stew or two each week (with double the ingredients) and enjoy dinners without the mess or clean-up that comes with nightly meals. This week, my family had beef stew chock full of hearty root veggies. With the extra time not cooking my to-do list was tackled and I felt energized from a healthy meal.
Finally, if you missed sending holiday cards but just can’t let it go then order a New Year's card. It’s always nice to get a card from friends and family, no matter when it arrives. Better yet, order an e-New Year's card!
There are plenty of other mundane tasks we do regularly, but cause us more stress when we return from holiday vacations like laundry, grocery shopping and more. Give yourself a little New Year’s gift and outsource for a week or two until life gets back on track!
*Step 3: When will you schedule it? * When we’re truly committed to something, we schedule it in our calendars - a work deadline, a family activity, a date night. Commit to 1-2 simple stress-reducing activities each week including activity-free days and outsourcing. Be sure to mark it in your calendar today. Remember to make it simple and easy to commit to considering all the post-holiday responsibilities.
For example, if exercise is your relief, commit to two workouts a week or 15 min/day instead of your typical 45 minute workout routine.
Now that you’ve committed to a plan, be sure to join a hubbub challenge like Stress Relief or Clean Eating so you can hold yourself accountable to your plan!