We love the holidays! As the old song says, it’s the most wonderful time of year! But with a shopping list as long as your arm and more holiday to-dos than you can count on your hands, it’s also the most stressful time of the year.
Heading into the holiday rush, it’s good to have a plan for staying ahead of the stress, or finding ways to handle it in the moment. Here are a few of our favorite ways to stay stress-free during the holidays.
1. Take care of one task every day. December 25 has a way of sneaking up on us—especially if we don’t get the drop on our shopping list. Try picking one daily “to do” item from your holiday shopping and chore list, starting today. By Christmas eve, you’ll have your list finished, or at least be in a very good place to finish up with a few last chores.
2. Get the kids to help with chores. Even Santa gets help from his elves during the holiday rush, so there’s no need to go it alone. Designate your kids as helper elves to pitch in on various tasks. Baking red-and-green Rice Krispie squares for the family can turn from a stressful task into a fun family activity, leaving you free to handle other chores while you supervise. Likewise, decorating the house or wrapping gifts can go to your eager elven helpers.
3. Hug it out. Hugging your kids or your partner can help your body trigger the release of the “cuddle hormone” oxytocin, which also helps regulate stress and boost happiness. There a whole list of other health benefits to hugging, so remember to fill in your holiday “to do” list with lots of cuddle time!
4. Go for a morning pump-up winter bounce. It’s a common myth that trampolines are a summer-only activity. In fact, they can help you wake up in the morning and warm up with a fun, quick, high-flying cardio session. Bundle up and bounce your stress away on your Springfree Trampoline. (Just don’t tell your kids you’re going out or you’ll have to share your bounce time!)
5. Take a mindfulness minute. Set alarms throughout the day to remind you to stop for a minute and take stock of your stress levels. If you’re feeling frazzled, it’s good to identify that early and give yourself more time to adjust your plans for the day. Or maybe you’ll find that moment you need to recognize how much you’ve gotten done today and cut yourself some slack.
6. Make a holiday power playlist. We all have favorite songs that get our Christmas spirit going and put us in the mood to celebrate. Make a playlist of your essential holiday anthems and have them ready for when you have a stressful activity ahead—and power through! Bonus: play them on your next winter bounce on your Springfree Trampoline for a quick energy boost before a day of chores.
7. Shop online. If you're staying home more this year, instead of shopping in stores, fill your virtual cart online with a few clicks. Just keep an eye on shipping deadlines. It's been an unpredictable year and sometimes things get a little busier during the holiday rush.
8. Try a gratitude circle during dinner. While you’re sitting down to eat, ask each family member to name something that they’re grateful for this holiday. After slowing down to appreciate the positive things you share together, you’ll find yourself better equipped to handle the negatives and stress that can sometimes come with the busy holiday season.
9. Put a holiday classic on TV. Whether you need a minute to yourself on the couch to enjoy a bowl of popcorn and a hot cup of cocoa, or you just want to keep the kids distracted while you pop out to handle some sneaky Santa chores, holiday movies are the perfect way to guarantee an hour or two of downtime. And you can never go wrong with timeless classics like The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street or It’s a Wonderful Life.
10. Take movement breaks. Do a few minutes of stretches, pick a holiday song for a one-minute dance party with your family or sneak out for a 10-minute bounce on your Springfree Trampoline. According to a study by NASA, 10 minutes spent bouncing on a trampoline gives you the same amount of exercise as a 30-minute run. (Plus, it’s a lot more fun!)
11. Forget perfection. In the moment, when you’re racing to finish decorating the tree or designing the holiday dinner garnish, all we see are the little things we missed and the task list items we didn’t get to do. But don’t worry! When you think back to previous holidays, you only remember the happy memories and highlights, and you’ll have just as many this year—even if the star on top of the tree is a little crooked. So forget perfection and enjoy the moment!