Hi Moms! My name is Danielle Shea Tan, Certified Health Coach and Founder of Healthy Mamas for Happy Families. Parent Talk was kind enough to invite me to write a guest blog post about how we as moms can reduce the stress that comes with the holiday season. I hope my tips help you – please enjoy!
For many of us busy moms, the holidays are bittersweet. The sparkling decorations, the joyful celebrations, the thoughtful gifts and delicious meals are all reason to feel smitten with the holidays. But, every mom can attest that sheer madness occurs to make these memories so beautiful. The shopping, cleaning, planning, prepping, schlepping, smiling, driving, dressing, and eating can be endless – and downright tiresome! I’m here to tell you - it is POSSIBLE to enjoy the holidays without the burnout.
To make your holidays more joyful, you need a plan for lowering your stress. It’s got to be a simple, practical plan that you can commit to.. Let me take you through three simple steps for creating your plan so by the end of this article you’ll be glowing with excitement for the holiday fun to arrive.
Step 1: Remind yourself how you reduce daily stress. What works for you personally?
Knowledge is power. If you already know your body and which activities successfully reduce your stress levels then you’re way ahead of the game If you aren’t sure of what works, here are a few activities that are proven to reduce stress:
- Exercise (even just 10 minutes)
- Breathing/meditation practice
- Being in nature (or looking at images of nature)
- Eating foods that reduce stress (like magnesium-rich nuts or folate-rich avocados) Check out this article for more details on eating edible seeds.
Step 2: Ask yourself which holiday activities are the most stressful and the least joyful for you. What are 1-2 things you can do differently?
Some of these activities like spending time with your rude Uncle Charlie are unavoidable. But, are there any stress-inducing holiday responsibilities that you do have control over? For me, it was the shopping that caused me serious stress. I love to shop and I love the holiday spirit that envelopes you at the mall, but the crowds, the lines, the bright lights and loud music make it very stressful for me. I realized this a couple of years ago and have switched to shopping almost 100% online. Here are some ideas for how to make some stress-reducing holiday responsibilities a little less stressful:
- Shopping – Skip the malls and buy online.
- Wrapping – Pay to have your gifts wrapped online or at the mall (it’s usually a non-profit donation!
- Cooking – Start making double and freezing any soups or sauces now. This way you’ll have pre-made dinners to rely during the week when you need to start prepping for a big holiday meal.
- Decorating – Divide your decorations into what’s required to make the house feel cozy and spirited and what’s a nice to have. Start by only putting up the required decorations, then if you get around to it, you can add more later on.
Step 3: Schedule your simple plan in your calendar now.
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 and mark it in your calendar today. Remember to make it simple and easy to commit to considering all the extra holiday responsibilities. For example, if exercise is your relief, commit to two workouts a week or 15 min/day instead of your typical workout routine. Finally, pick the one activity that is the least joyful for you and commit to getting it off your plate or taking a different approach that makes it less stressful.
Now that you’ve committed, tell us in the comments your plan for reducing stress this holiday season.
For more information on my nutrition and lifestyle coaching services for busy parents and to receive a free gift to further enhance your healthy lifestyle, visit www.healthymamasforhappyfamilies.com. Use the savings code “healthymama15” to receive 15% off any of my programs through December 31, 2013. In the meantime, you can also follow me on my blog, Facebook and Pinterest.
Join the Healthy Happy Holiday Challenge (we start later this week!). http://www.healthymamasforhappyfamilies.com/healthy-happy-holiday-challenge.html
It's only $37 because I want to motivate moms to participate and join in on the fun!
About the Author
Danielle Shea Tan is a certified health coach who helps busy moms and their families nurture healthy habits and face nutritional and lifestyle challenges with an upbeat attitude and manageable solutions. Danielle's on a mission to change what parents believe about their families’ day-to-day ills—from stomachaches to fatigue, inability to concentrate to constipation. While most parents grasp for answers to these issues, like age or stage, Danielle believes that the majority of these issues can be solved FOREVER through small tweaks to diet and lifestyle. Her goal is to set families up for healthy futures where they feel great.