Although the holidays are filled with togetherness, joy, and love; this time of year can become chaotic and downright stressful. Remaining calm and grounded is imperative to be happy and healthy during the holidays. For tips on how to reduce holiday stress and choose happiness this season, keep reading!

Stay Hydrated

Staying properly hydrated is not only essential for your physical health, but for your mental health as well. In terms of your physical health, dehydration can cause increased heart rate, fatigue, nausea, and headaches. Experiencing any of these types of symptoms can make it much more difficult to take on all of your holiday tasks and enjoy yourself. In terms of your mental health, on the other hand, your brain is made up of 75% water, which is why your mentality can be greatly affected by dehydration. It can lead to feelings of irritability, anxiety, and even delirium in extreme cases.

When you drink enough water, you’re able to sleep better and flush out toxins from your body. This is exactly what you need during the holiday season while you’re overworked and indulging in tasty food. To keep on top of your water intake, start by consistently carrying a reusable water bottle around so that you can refill it throughout the day. It’s also a good idea to drink a glass of water before each meal to support digestion and remain hydrated.

Getting Outside Helps You Reduce Stress

Once Daylight Savings officially begins, it’s normal to want to stay bundled up and cozy from the comfort of your own home. Although it’s completely fine to rest from time-to-time, you should still make an effort to get outside regularly. Keeping yourself cooped up all winter long can take a heavy toll on your overall health. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) occurs when you develop feelings of depression during specific seasons, most commonly during the winter months, and affects roughly 10 million Americans.

To counteract these feelings, going outside can help boost your mood and energy, while also giving you your daily dose of vitamin D. Furthermore, nature has been studied for its stress-reducing effects, which has sparked new practices like nature therapy for those who’re suffering with their mental health. To do this, you can take a simple stroll outdoors, go ice skating, or hike in the snow.

Pay Attention to How Stress is Affecting You Physically

Stress can manifest in physical ways in both the way you feel and look. The most common physical signs usually alter the look of both your skin and hair. Exhaustion, dehydration, and stress can make your skin freak out. Because of this, breakouts and worsened skin conditions tend to occur, which is the last thing you probably want. Additionally, your hair may begin falling out due to an increase in cortisol levels, also known as the stress hormone. As a result, your hair can start to look dull, dead, and thin.

Your physical appearance and mental well-being are highly correlated. This can feel especially frustrating when it comes to managing holiday stress since you likely have gatherings on your list. Your appearance can worsen your feelings of stress, while your stress can cause your changes in appearance. Be conscious of how your looks are changing if it’s abrupt, as this is an indicator that stress is the root of the issue. To help, find products that work to treat any physical problems you’re experiencing. Use skin-care treatments to help relieve the effects of stress on your skin. In addition, use hair-strengthening products to improve the look and texture of your hair. Finally, practice relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, and reading to calm your stress from the inside-out.

Be Mindful of What You’ve Accomplished

It can feel especially tough to reduce holiday stress if you focus on things that need to be done. With an endless list of to-do’s, it can be challenging to recognize all that you’ve accomplished in a day’s work. For every item you cross off of your list, it’s likely replaced with another task and another on top of that. By the time the holiday season is over, you may feel drained, exhausted, and scattered.

To combat this, work on recognizing what you’ve accomplished at the end of each day. This list can comprise of shopping you’ve done, loved ones you got to spend time with, fears you’ve faced, new things you’ve tried, and/or completed projects you’ve worked on at your job. It can even be as simple as meals you’ve made that day or even just getting yourself out of bed when you didn’t feel like it. No accomplishment is too small to celebrate, so write them down and watch positivity spill into your life.

Reduce Holiday Stress by Sticking to a Budget

Money tends to be one of the biggest contributors to holiday stress during this time of the year. Between gift-giving, food shopping, and all the traveling expenses, it’s no wonder why people spend more than they may want to. To prevent money from burdening your well-being, start by creating a realistic budget of what you’re comfortable spending this year. Once you’ve determined your financial limits, it’s critical to stay within your boundaries.

To ensure you don’t accidentally go over budget, keep track of your spending. You can do this by creating a separate bank account solely for holiday spending so that you have a visual of how much you’re spending week-to-week and where it’s all going. Or, you can accurately track your expenditures by making a budget spreadsheet. Another easy way to ensure you’re staying within your monetary means is by choosing fun, cheaper traditions. From touring neighborhood decorations, making crafts, to watching a holiday movie at home; traditions don’t need to add to your expenses. Lastly, it can be hard to estimate how expensive food will cost you with numerous gatherings throughout the season. Instead of burning a whole in your wallet, suggest a potluck with friends and family so that everyone can bring a dish and it doesn’t fall just on you.

Savor the Small Moments

The hype of the holidays can certainly get the best of us. With all of the traditions and events to partake in, it can be hard to remember to live in the present moment. Still, it’s incredibly important to work on savoring the smaller moments as this will help you choose happiness. Otherwise, before you know it, the season will have passed you by and you’ll wind up feeling disheartened because you didn’t enjoy this time as much as you could have.

To focus on living for the moment, start by doing less. Only put your time and energy into the most meaningful traditions so that you don’t stretch yourself too thin attempting to do everything. Additionally, setting unrealistic expectations can hinder your ability to be happy this time of the year. Try to release your expectations of how you think things “should” be and allow them to be as they are. Imperfection, stillness, and taking breaks are all okay. This will allow you to capture the moment while you’re still in the moment.

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