Songs proclaim this as the most wonderful time of the year. Yet, as we move into Christmas week, stress levels often rise while meeting the time and task demands. If you want to create some peace and joy for your end-of-year holiday season, consider implementing the tips below.
Turn off the “news.” Sadly, too much of the “news” is filled with promoting division and fear. As a result, with stress levels already high, watching what passes for news these days will do nothing to reduce your stress. According to a Digital Third Coast survey, 68% of those who answered the survey reported feeling anxious about the news. In the same study, 65% to 67% of respondents felt overwhelmed by the news. Instead, fill your home and mind with something that brings out the best in your and your family members. Try listening to some Christmas music, or watch your favorite Christmas or inspirational shows instead of the news.
Step away from social media. Few people show up as their best selves while on these platforms. Studies show that people who use less social media have better mental health outcomes. Less time on these platforms also decreases depression and loneliness. Give yourself a break from the negative impacts of social media and spend the time baking cookies or reading a good book. The smell of baking cookies is also a mood enhancer.
Practice being more gracious. As you gather with family or friends, remember the reason for the season, and practice being gracious. Merriam Webster defines graciousness as “a) marked by kindness and courtesy, a gracious host, and b) characterized by charm, good taste, generosity of spirit”. Do your best to steer people away from divisive arguments and focus instead on recalling favorite holiday memories or traditions or favorite gifts from past holidays. If someone starts to go down a divisive road, take a deep breath, graciously acknowledge them, and redirect the conversation.
The Christmas season is a time for joy. You can create that joy and peace by being more intentional and slightly changing your routine and typical stress responses. Give it a try for the remainder of this year. You may find that it becomes your new normal, improving your mental and physical well-being and setting you up for a healthier, less stressed New Year.
We wish you and yours a joyful Christmas and a safe and blessed New Year!