Every year around Christmas, I find myself looking for ways to make the season more simplified in hopes of reducing stress on my body, mind and spirit during the month of December. The season can quickly get out of control if you let it and while most times we don’t think about it, stress is a huge toxin to our bodies.
The whole point of a healthy house and healthy space is to reduce stress on our bodies through reducing toxins, but if we add in other layers of stress to our lives, it can completely derail the whole attempt to be healthier.
Christmas ideas that help me simplify my life and my daily tasks allow me to enjoy all the traditions and “extras” we get to enjoy over the holiday season. When your plate is already full, it can make adding Christmas activities stressful and overwhelming. But by managing the day to day things that you do and by making a few simple mindset shifts, you can enjoy Christmas without the added stress of the holidays.
For me, being present in the moment and actually leaving my to-do list behind has made the Christmas season so much more enjoyable and memorable. The trick is to plan ahead just a little bit and simplify your life for just this month while you take a step back in the season to truly enjoy Christmas.
REDUCE STRESS WITH BUSY HOLIDAY SCHEDULES:
We all know that oftentimes the Holidays are so busy that life becomes stressful. And to be honest, ever since our COVID Christmas season where we enjoyed the most wonderful, low key Christmas season at home, I feel like I haven’t been able to get used to the hustle of the season again. We try so hard to cram so many fun things into just a short six week period, that we drive ourselves and our families to the brink of being overstressed.
Doing everything in your power to reduce stress and simplify schedules during the Christmas season will help you manage a healthy house. Being run down and stressed out during the winter season, especially Christmas, is a recipe for disaster.
Not only are we not sleeping as much (most likely), we’re also enjoying more drinks and more sugar than normal, which weakens our immune system. This is why I turn to essential oils so frequently during the Christmas season. We use oils that support our emotional health and support a healthy immune function to keep us in peak performance when we’re running around doing all the Christmas things.
If there’s any way at all we can simplify our Holiday plans, we do it. One thing to remember is that we don’t have to “do it all”, and the important thing is to enjoy the time we have together while celebrating.
SOLUTION: MAKING MEALS SIMPLER
Simplifying your meals and cooking over the holidays is SUCH a time saver. For me it means making a double batch of breakfast muffins and keeping them in the freezer to pull out on a busy morning. It also means we do a lot of “make your own salad” nights. While this is actually one of my kids’ favorite meals, it’s a simple and quick meal to put together where everyone is eating healthy food of their choice.
You could also double a recipe and put a full meal in the freezer to use in a week or two when the holidays are in full swing. Other things I like to do are to prepare the fruits and veggies ahead of time so that lunches and to-go foods are always available.
Another thing you could try is just simplifying your meal in general. Soup is a great option for when you want a one-pot meal with few dishes. We love chili in the winter and one of the reasons is that there is just one pot to clean up and I can make it a bit ahead of the dinner time rush if I want to.
PAIR DOWN CLEANING TASKS
Christmas and the holidays are not the time to do your deep cleaning tasks. In fact, it’s okay to pair down some of your cleaning to the bare minimum during these busy weeks. Oftentimes dusting is one of the things that just doesn’t make the list (unless company is coming over). The things that I HAVE to clean like bathrooms and daily bathroom cleaning get first priority.
I even keep my laundry simplified during the holiday season. Combining loads that I maybe wouldn’t typically do together makes it simpler for me to get all the laundry done without feeling stressed. Overall, remember it’s just a season, and these Christmas ideas to reduce stress are also eliminating a type of toxin in your life.
KEEP UP ON CLUTTERED AREAS
The clutter that accumulates in the typical places in your house doesn’t go away just because it’s Christmastime. Rather, I think it’s amplified with cards, school notes and year-end mail and to-dos. If you can keep up on cleaning these areas out DAILY, you’ll be ahead of the game in the long run.
I find that if at the end of the day or after my kids have gone to bed I can go through the “collection” spot on our counter or on my desk and make a plan for each piece of mail, I feel better and more on top of things. Plus, I find that fewer to-do items get missed because they’re not getting buried in the mail pile.
This can also be true with your email inbox. By staying on top of it daily, you’ll be less likely to feel overwhelmed by all the mail coming in. The trick is to set aside a little bit of time each day to just maintain and keep up so you’re not overwhelmed in the end.
COMBINE SHOPPING TRIPS & ONLINE ORDERS
You know when you go to Target and you get home under $75 just to realize that you forgot the main thing you went there for? I’m the queen of this. But during the Holidays I just don’t have time to go to the store all the time to pick up odds and ends. This means I have to be super strategic about what I’m getting from what store and when. It also means that I utilize my Thrive Market orders and usually make one large order at the beginning of the season.
If I know I’m going to have to run out to get shampoo next week, then I might as well pick it up this week when I’m at the store, just in case the next week I get too busy. It’s all about keeping a running list and then sticking to it and knowing what’s on it.
We use Google Keep for our shopping list and we keep it updated really diligently in order to avoid those unnecessary last minute shopping trips.
I also try to combine any last minute gift shopping with my regular shopping trips. This way I can get two things done at once, leaving more time for fun holiday festivities.
ASK FOR HELP
You might not be the type of person who’s big into asking for help. But even if you’re not, the holidays are a good time to play that card. Whether it’s a kid swap with your neighbor to get more done or paying for your groceries to be delivered, any little bit of help can help reduce stress over the holidays.
Think of things that HAVE to be done by you and then think of things that really anybody could do. It might be things like shopping, cleaning, watching your kids for a few hours, picking up your kids from school — anything that doesn’t have to be done by JUST you. These are the things you can try to get some help with; either from a paid helper or from a friend or family member.
Also, it’s important to remember that you can make sure everyone in your own house is pulling their weight. The world doesn’t have to rest on your shoulders over the Christmas season. You could have your kids pitch in with chores or do a family day where you’re getting food prep done together. Any way to get everyone to help out will help make the Holidays more enjoyable.
IT’S OKAY TO SAY “NO”
When you’ve exhausted the ideas above and you’re STILL stressed out from the Holidays. Remember that it’s okay to say “no.” You don’t have to please everyone, and chances are, even by saying “yes” to something, you still have not made everyone happy. Think about what will really bring you and your family peace and joy during the Christmas season, and stick to those things.
We often get wrapped up in tradition and never break from it because we don’t want to ruin a yearly event. But the truth is, it’s okay to do something different, skip a year or change your traditions all together.
It’s more about what is best for your family this year and what has always been best in the past. Realizing that family dynamics and needs change as years go by can help keep this in check. Just because you’ve always done it, doesn’t mean you’ve always enjoyed it. Let go of the guilt and remember it’s okay to say “no” when you have to.
Whatever way you choose to move into the holiday season, I hope it’s a season of complete enjoyment and I truly hope you can eliminate the stress of the holidays in any way you see fit. With Christmas ideas that will actually reduce the burden of stress on your spirit, mind and body, you can continue to have a healthy season into the New Year.