5 Secrets to Keep Your Sanity Intact Through the Holidays

Today is Life List Club Friday. My guest today is Marcia A. Richards, one of the co-founders of Life List Club. Sonia G. Medeiros is hosting me as we continue our biweekly hopping among one another’s blogs. After you read and comment on Marcia’s post, hop over to Sonia’s site to read my post on Family Health, written after receiving some sobering news from my sister. Then cruise through the LLC Blogroll we each have on the side of our blog sites to see what other members have to say today. Now, let’s get on to Marcia:

I’d always suspected it, but now I know it’s true.

The American Psychological Association states that almost half of all women experience a serious jump in their stress levels during the holidays. And what are the men doing? According to the APA, roughly the same number of them are RELAXING!

This is just not fair. So what do we do about it? When we’re crazy-out-of-our-heads-stressed, our answer might be to shoot our men…but don’t do that, too many consequences. Hire a maid, a cook, a personal shopper? Nah!

As strong women (oh, yes, you are!), let’s opt to promise ourselves we won’t miss out on the joys of the holidays and we will stay healthy (even if it’s just to spite the men!). When we stress, we lower our immunity and get sick. When we don’t get enough sleep, we overeat, we get depressed, we’re too tired to do what needs to be done.

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When you’re trying to create a memorable holiday for your family, you add dozens of extra activities that have to be squeezed into your regularly packed-full schedule. Obviously, that’s going to make you a little crazed.

There’s no avoiding the holiday hustle and bustle, but there are ways to keep your sanity and stress levels in check:

1) Laugh – Do you remember last year when you were standing in the checkout line for-ev-er, while a customer ahead of you picked up an item with no tag and the cashier had to call her manager, (who was on the other side of the store amidst another crisis), because this was the last one and she had no idea what it cost, and the manager came over and had to call for permission to make up a price and a ticket number for the computer, so the cashier stood by doing noth-ing while he figured it out? *deep breath* Huh, remember that day?

If that happens this year, laugh-out-loud! Commiserate with someone in line behind you and relieve the stress – for yourself and everyone else. Laughing out loud regulates blood pressure and helps your circulation,  i.e. it keeps you healthy.

2) Bake – Whenever we get our heads into an activity that takes concentration and a flow of thoughts, we de-stress. Baking can do that for us – and we get some goodies to enjoy in the bargain. When you bake cookies, for example, you follow steps that create energized focus. Stress takes a backseat. At holiday time, you’re likely baking cookies with ginger, cinnamon or nutmeg. Bonus! The scent of those spices soothes and cheers your mood.

3) Breathe – The dishes are washed, the kids are in bed, your list for tomorrow is written. You have an hour before bed, so turn off the TV, stereo, computer and bright lights. Pour yourself some hot cocoa and spend a few minutes sitting by the fire, or in the glow of Christmas lights or candles and take a deep breath. Clear your head of stressful ‘to-dos’. Do nothing. Relaxation will prepare you for a tranquil tomorrow. The hot cocoa has a calming effect due to a plant compound that lowers your blood pressure when you’re stressed. And, it’s chocolate! Drink up and breathe easy.

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4 ) Give – You may think you can’t fit one more activity into an already over-loaded schedule, but do this. Even the smallest act of kindness can ease your stress. If time allows, volunteer at a hospital. If not, then take in the mail for an elderly person, call a relative who lives alone, slow down on a busy street and let another motorist turn, leave a dozen of those hundreds of cookies you baked on the doorstep for the postman AND it can’t hurt to sing a Christmas carol, like Here Comes Santa Claus, while you do it. Instead of just signing your Christmas cards, take a minute more to add a personal note. Heartfelt sentiments create a connection to those in your social circle and family, reducing stress. For lots more ideas on how to give, read this.

5) Sleep – Keep a pad of paper and a pen next to your bed, so that when your mind is racing to remember all that needs to be done tomorrow, or when you’re angry with miserable Aunt Biddy, write it down and let it go. Turn on some white noise. It will drown out other sounds that can keep you awake. Turn out any nightlights or wear eyeshades to keep your brain from being aroused by the light, allowing for deeper sleep. Don’t watch intense movies, play video games or have a phone conversation right before bed – they’ll only stimulate your brain making it resist peaceful sleep.

There are more tips I could add, but these are the most important. Besides, don’t you already have too much to remember?

Feel free to add to this list. What do you do to keep your mood balanced, the stress at bay and a smile on your face through the holidays?

(I’m willing to bet David is the type of husband who pitches in so the burden is not on his wife alone. My husband is, too.)

 

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Marcia Richards is the author of Marcia Richards’ Blog…Sexy. Smart. From The Heart. Marcia writes about women, history, and the path to realizing your dreams. She has a Historical Trilogy and a collection of Short Stories in progress. When she’s not writing, she can be found playing with the grandkids or her husband, traveling or turning old furniture into works of art. She believes there is always something new to learn.

Come hang out with Marcia at: http://twitter.com/MarciaARichards or http://facebook.com/MarciaARichards .

Visit Marcia at: http://Marcia-Richards.com

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About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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16 Responses to 5 Secrets to Keep Your Sanity Intact Through the Holidays

  1. Jenny Hansen says:

    I’m coming late to the party on this one but WOW, did I need this today. 🙂

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  2. Marcia says:

    I hope it works for you, Angela! Have a great holiday!

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  3. Wonderful post! I do tend to stress out around the holidays and anytime we’ve got a big family gathering. My hubby rarely gets stressed about it though. I think I worry too much about all the details. Instead, I should really let go more. And laugh. And sleep. 😀

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  4. Thanks for lending your wisdom to my site, Marcia. Great post.

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  5. Jess Witkins says:

    I really must remember that sleep rule. As for baking, how about going to a friend’s house who bakes? Does that count? I’m good at doing that. I’m more of an appetizer queen. Mmm, now I’m hungry.

    Can’t wait for our milestone party!

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  6. Catie Rhodes says:

    We women are the keepers of hearth and home; therefore, it is “on” us to create the perfect holiday season. Our men sit in front of the TV or computer as we slave away, totally oblivious. It finally hit me that my husband is oblivious because he *doesn’t care* what the decorations look like or if the food is perfect or if everybody is having the time of their lives. He’s just happy to be here with me. Once I realized that, I had to start asking myself if it really mattered. Like you say, I let a lot of things go. What’s important is that I have family and friends whom I love and who love me.

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    • Brilliant insight, Catie. Relationship trump good food, clean houses, etc, every time. *Whispers to wife that doesn’t mean let’s see how dirty we can let the house get.* Thanks for stopping by.

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    • Marcia says:

      I agree, Catie. It doesn’t mean the same to men as to us. I enjoy the entertaining, so working a little extra to make the table look and the food taste the way I want them to is okay with me. But with the rest I need some help.
      If asking for help gets you nowhere, then let it go. You don’t need to be tired AND stressed before family and friends walk thru the door. I hope you have a stress-free holiday. 🙂

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  7. Just yesterday I was putting up all the Christmas decor while my husband was on facebook. I was trying to put words to they way I was feeling and took them right out of my mouth. I think I’m going to take your advice and just let it all go!

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  8. Marcia says:

    lol…I agree, Pam, with both suggestions! The family should help – my hubs is awesome at that, a great partner. Now that I have my treadmill challenge going there’ll be no stress for me!

    @David–Thanks so much for having me here, David and you made it all look so lovely!

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  9. hawleywood40 says:

    Marcia, this is a great article! It is sooo true that women tend to get more stressed over the holidays. We want to do everything and make it all perfect. Two of my others are 1. Exercise, even if all you have time for is 15 minutes of stretching. An adrenaline boost to help you get through the day is a good thing! 2. Delegate. Yeah, I know. But the holidays only come once a year. So that you have time for the shopping and baking and wrapping and decorating that you WANT to do for yourself and your family, hubby and kids CAN help with the other stuff … no reason he can’t fold some clothes during the Sunday football commercials (sorry guys – I’m ducking now!) : ).

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