What an out-of-the-ordinary year we are all experiencing throughout 2020! While the pandemic enters its second wave, Americans are sadly realizing that we’ve lost more men, women, and children than were lost in World War II. The thought is staggering and full of uncertainties that still loom ahead. This makes it more important than ever to find effective ways to reduce your holiday stress level.
Not surprisingly, many people are feeling the weight of homeschooling, isolation from the ones we hold most dearly in our lives, and again, the uncertainty of what lies ahead. So, taking steps to reduce your holiday stress is a wise move for everyone.
If this piques your interest, please continue reading for some tips and techniques to reduce your holiday stress. Below, you will learn about relaxing essentials and decluttering for this out-of-the-ordinary year.
❅ Acknowledge Your Feelings
Acknowledging your feelings is so important. Stuffing them only leads to even harsher feelings when they finally release. Moreover, it’s normal to cry during these times when things are so tough all over for so many people.
The holidays are always an emotional time for me. But, this year, in being essentially alone, I kind of look forward to not getting quite so emotionally drawn into what is going on around me. Anyway, I think that’s a positive way to think about it…for one thing, I know I won’t eat as much. 😻
However, crying empties the stress and makes space for more gracious feelings to fill it back up. Isn’t that a nice visual? It’s also very effective in calming and relaxing the mind.
So, let those feelings out in a place where you feel safe in doing so. Then, envision the Universe filling you back up with warm, glowing stardust from the heavens.
❅ Box Breathing
This is a technique that is new to me. Interestingly, this technique is in use by elite military people while experiencing extreme stress. Of course, there’s also a whole school of thought around it, but the technique itself is quite simple.
You will also see it referred to as square breathing or four-square breathing. It involves taking in a slow breath to the count of four, holding it for a count of four, then releasing it for a count of four, and again, holding your breath for a count of four. Continue repeating until your anxiety passes.
Remarkably, it also aids people in their meditation as it relaxes and allows the mind to enter into a meditative state. But, for calming down under dire circumstances, it is so effective that it is in widespread use among athletes, Navy SEALS, nurses, and police officers.
❅ Stick to a Set Budget
This is not a time for overspending. Also, please keep in mind that shopping therapy will not make the virus go away. In fact, you might end up bringing home more than presents. Just think about the possibility of your family getting sick. So, this is a time for staying home and shopping online.
In either case, it’s important to stick to your budget. Doing so ensures less future stress when the bills come due. I think most people understand this and expectations for gifts might not be quite as high this year, depending on your budget.
Either way, remember, you’re in good company because millions around the world are going through all of this as well. What I believe is that we will, as the human race, emerge stronger and wiser than before.
❅ Use Your Essential Oils for Relaxation
There is no better time than now to use your essential oils for relaxation and anti-anxiety. If fact, I’m pretty sure they were invented just for 2020! Seriously though, bring out your diffusers and run them day and night. Incense is also a good option if you don’t have any essential oils on hand. Below are a few suggestions for you to consider.
Warm, burning candles with scents of the season are heart-warming and pleasant. So, save a few to burn after the holidays to help avoid the post-holiday blues.
Scents and smells are an integral part of our human experience so it only stands to reason that scented candles and essential oils are a must, especially during these times.
Decluttering Your Space
Do you know that de-cluttering your intimate environment reduces anxiety? Perhaps you know an obsessive-compulsive person who constantly arranges and rearranges or must have something in just the right spot. But, do you know that their body and mind are automatically doing this because it releases stress for them?
Interestingly, everyone can benefit from de-cluttering because it puts things in order and thereby lowers stress levels. As humans, our evolution includes our inherent quest for order – it’s in our DNA. So, when things get out of order it affects us in varying degrees. But in simple terms, it makes us anxious. The good news is, decluttering relieves anxiety.
Don’t have time to get to it before the holidays? Some people wait until after the holidays when all the gifts have been unwrapped and are crowding what’s already in your home. That’s a great time for sorting since it’s easier to get rid of something if you have something new and shiny to replace it.
But, what are you going to do with all this stuff when you’re through sorting? After all, we are in pandemic mode – not going out unless it’s absolutely necessary. That can create anxiety just thinking about it! But, there is an excellent answer to this question about where to put all the extra stuff you no longer want.
❅ What to Do With the Stuff
At least in cities (this might not apply to smaller towns), there is a fantastic option of furniture donation pickups. Below is a list of eight charities that pick up your stuff for free.
Don’t forget to get your tax deductions by asking the drivers for donation receipts. Rest assured they will have receipts on hand, so be sure to get yours.
Also, refer to the IRS’s rules on charitable contributions to be certain that you follow all the tax rules for claiming donations as a deduction.
❅ Charities that Pick Up Your Stuff for Free
❅ The No Drama Guide to Decluttering
The guide below will help you decide what to keep, donate, or trash. It’s a super-easy guideline to follow and implement so I hope you take advantage of it. My thanks go to MyMove.com for developing this guideline and for contributing it for those in need of this information.