Thanksgiving, Halloween and Christmas usually equal to festive parties, wholesome recipes and time off work, so its no surprise this is usually our favorite time of the year. However at times it can be overwhelming and stressful for some. Finances, scheduling, chores etc. add to stresses the holidays can bring. Also something that floods magazines, social media and TV are the picture perfect holiday scenes, which can elevate holiday stress and even depression. The good news is that there are ways in which we can reduce stress at this time of the year:

1. Lets get organized – its important to make a plan, this can be done by marking tasks on your calendar which can include holiday decorations, grocery shopping, cooking and gift shopping.

2. Keep it simple – focus your time on the things that you and your family enjoy, like games nights, movie nights, Christmas markets etc. Sometimes a simplified version of a holiday is the best holiday.

3. Declutter before hand – the place we live is a reflection of our mind. When it is cluttered, our mind gets messy and our plans are all over the place. So a few weeks before Christmas actually arrives, clean your home or even call in help or a cleaning service and get things on track. Head to the council dump or donate to a charity store.

4. Self-care – making a self-care a priority during the busy holiday season is so important for so many reasons. It not only helps you be calm and focused but allows you to be able to continue to give to others too. We have to fill up our own cup to be able to pour love and support into those around us. And if our cup is empty, then we don’t have anything to give! Here are some of my holiday self care favorites:

* Lighting candles – I like to compensate for the darkness outside by lighting scented candles at home. It feels so relaxing and helps me forget that the sun sets early these days.

* Gratitude journal – with holidays like Christmas, winter feels like the perfect season to express some more gratitude. It’s as easy as writing down three things you are grateful for each evening before bedtime. This even sets calm state of mind before you go to sleep!

* Get out – Even though its cold out, I really try to spend enough time outside during winter. This often involves going shopping or for a walk in a nearby park before the sunsets. I love walking through the Christmas markets and festive lights.

* Winter tea blends – tea is my favorite way to distress, but my hot cup of tea becomes even more valuable to me when it’s cold outside. When wanting to relax as well as warm up, chai tea is an absolute pleasure. Christmas tea blends with cinnamon or nutmeg give the added bonus of an aromatic experience!

5. Money wise – nothing can be more stressful than spending more money than you have. So try your best to plan early and do your research on how you can save more this Christmas. Presents do not have to be expensive and there are many families that save money and buy slowly throughout the year during sales to help, this is a great way to offset some of the costs.

6. Focus on what’s really important – spending time with loved ones and remembering the true reason of why we are celebrating in the first place are the most important things we should be focused on this holiday season. Move past the consumerism and over hyped expectations and make some beautiful memories for you and your family this year.

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