As much anticipation and expectations that the holidays bring, it can be a challenge to simply slow down and actually enjoy them. Spending time with extended family, gathering up gifts, and carefully preparing home-cooked meals isn't always the walk in the park that it seems when you're stuck in the office, daydreaming about being on holiday. In fact, one of the most difficult parts of the holiday season is allowing yourself to wind down and let the daily stress and mental energy that work can demand melt away.
"We forget to be still and allow ourselves to recharge," celebrity life advisor and relationship expert Suzannah Galland explains. It's all too easy to get caught up in family drama or to let thoughts of a full email inbox deter you from staying in the present moment. "Without time to recharge, we are likely to burn out—and fast," she continues. That's why it's so important to de-stress before the holidays so that you can truly relax and enjoy time spent away from work while you can.
Easier said than done, but Galland has a few tips for detoxing your mind from daily stress. From planning ahead and meditating to staying off your phone and relishing in your downtime, there are many strategies for getting to most out of time spent away from work. Armed with her advice, you'll be on your way to a relaxing, rejuvenating break from work and your usual responsibilities. Here are seven ways to de-stress before the holidays that you can start working on right now.
1. Plan Your Gifts
When you plan ahead, you can eliminate much of the stress that comes along with holiday shopping. Galland suggests stocking up on a few spare gifts for unexpected guests and getting your gifting done early. "Think about what you would like to receive as a generic gift as this may be more of an incentive for you to get organized," she says.
2. Share the Holiday Cooking
Whether you tend to host holiday gatherings or simply attend, you'll likely end up being in charge of preparing at least one seasonal dish to share with friends and family. "Stop sweating about being perfect and ask others to chip in where you feel overwhelmed," Galland advises. Sharing the work will ease your mind and let you spend more time with the people you care about.
3. Indulge in a Touch of Luxury
One of the easiest ways to de-stress before the holidays is to reward yourself with just a dose of luxury. "Give yourself an indulgent gift this year," the life coach says. For example, she suggests going for something practical like finding a laundry service that will take care of the chore for you. You could also book yourself a massage, a pedicure, or any other relaxing treatment that you enjoy.
4. Guard Your Space
According to Galland, it's important to let go of your work mode efficiency. That means no multi-tasking or focusing on accomplishing everything in record time. She also recommends avoiding making plans that you can't (or don't want to) keep. "Allow yourself to do nothing for once," she says. Indulge in a bit of self-care, binge-watch your favorite show, or read a book you've been meaning to start.
5. Celebrate Your Downtime
Yes, health goals have a time and a place, but Galland suggests celebrating the holidays without guilt. Whether that means sleeping in until 11 a.m. without kicking yourself for not rising earlier or indulging in comfort food without feeling like you shouldn't have, allow yourself to enjoy the break how you see fit.
Galland advises you introduce mindful meditation into your schedule right away to start de-stressing before the holidays even begin. Thanks to a variety of apps and resources, it's easy to try the practice even if you've never done it before. The life coach suggests starting with just five minutes at a time and urges you not to be too hard on yourself if you miss a day. "This will help your transition from work to play without even realizing that your mind is adjusting," she explains.
7. Prioritize Unplugging
"It's important to unplug any time we can, but most of us don't prioritize it with any significance," Galland points out. She suggests taking a digital detox while you're out of the office on holiday break. "Allow yourself to switch off from the outside world," she says. "Take a four-hour luxury time-out. Relax into a hot scented out bath and surround yourself with candles and drift into you time," she continues. You'll feel calmer and more at ease before you know it.