Mission Holiday: De-Stress This Mess

The holidays are a time of much merriment but if you are anything like me, it's also a season of stress! Don't get me wrong, I love this time of year and with snow on the ground here in Vermont, it's truly a winter wonderland. Homes are bedecked with twinkling lights and cheery decorations that brighten these dark December nights. It's truly lovely. Unfortunately, I've often overlooked these small joys due to the stress the holidays bring. Not this year though! I've got a plan and I invite you to join me! I'm calling it Mission Holiday De-Stress This Mess! 

Mission #1: Plan, Plan, and then plan some more.

This seems so simple right? Sit down, write up a plan and stick to it! Well, that's never been my forte to be quite honest but this year I'm serious about not being stressed. I just decided to plan my travel better this year since I'm headed to South Carolina to see my family for the first time in 2 years! I'm very excited and I want to hold on to that positive feeling without the travel stress so this year I planned everything out. I often fly by the seat of my pants so instead I have called everyone already to let them know I'm coming, made plans with several folks (which keeps me accountable) and I've got my accommodations and side trips already worked out. Deadlines are essential so whatever you decide to plan for, be it travel for the holidays or serving Christmas dinner for your in-laws, come up with a plan and hold yourself accountable (you can always call a friend to help you with this part...I called my sister!) 

Mission#2: Buy Gifts Early!

I'm notorious for buying gifts at the last minute and since I live far from family this never works out well. It's not unheard of for my family to get their gifts well in to the new year....so again deadlines. I've worked out everything I'm getting my immediate family and I have until December 5th to get them ordered! 

Mission#3: Schedule some Self-Care!

I often forget to take care of myself this time of year so I've decided to do one thing a day that is loving and makes me feel happy! It doesn't have to be a huge thing, for example, today I stopped in my favorite coffee shop and got a warm mug of tea after a long day out in the cold weather. Taking a bath, meditating, watching a movie, playing guitar and getting massage all end up pushed to the edges of my life this time of year so I'm actually scheduling it in to my day!! Notifications on my phone, reminders in my journal and little love notes in my bathroom help me stay on target with my self-care. I also made sure to book some appointments ahead of time for massage in December so I don't let my self-care routine slip!!

Mission #4: Drink Less Caffeine

This is my biggest weakness: coffee. My father's family is Cuban and it's said that coffee runs in our veins so stepping away from it is very difficult. What I've discovered, however, is that I feel better when I cut back. I also have adrenal fatigue, which basically means I'm exhausted a lot because I'm too busy and not resting enough. Caffeine also depletes the adrenals so it's time to wean off for a bit but really, what better time than the holidays? Caffeine makes me crash, increasing stress on my body, and only briefly alleviates the need for me to slow down and take time to care for myself (all the more motivation to commit to Mission #3!). 

Mission #5: Enjoy the Small Joys of the Season

Stop. Breath. Close your eyes. Name 3 things you love about the holidays. Write these down and savor the feelings these activities bring up. When I do this I imagine decorating the Christmas tree, making my grandmother's holiday cookie recipe and singing carols. These are some of my favorite holiday traditions. I've skipped out on these small joys the last couple of years so this holiday season it's at the top of the priority list. Why go through the stress and not feel the joy? I can't say why I have but my Holiday Mission is changing that!

Do you have any great tips for easing the stress of the holidays? I'd love to hear about them!