Holiday stress can come hand in hand with this time of celebration, and often our alcohol intake increases (whether we plan to or not). This is not necessarily a coincidence and without knowing it we may start coping with the stress by increasing our alcohol intake. All of a sudden that glass or two of wine in the evening which you used to have on the weekends has now snuck into every single night. But we all know that too much alcohol isn’t good for us, so here are 5 tips on how to manage the holiday stress without the booze.
Plan Ahead of Time
Planning is the key with almost everything to keep stress under control. If we procrastinate and wait until the last minute to get ready for that holiday party or cookie swap you were planning than the stress is going to be too high and you’ll find yourself looking for ways to manage that stress. Sit down at the beginning of November and take a serious look at your December schedule. Mark down all the dates you have Christmas parties when the kids are out of school, what days do your company arrive or are you traveling to visit family. Once it’s all down on paper it and you see it you will find it much easier to create a plan.
Stick to your exercise routine
Exercise often is one of the first things to go as soon as we get busy. However, research shows that if we continue to exercise during stressful times we handle the stress much better and are able to cope through the stressful times. This is due to a number of reasons. First, exercise increases oxygen levels in your body and your brain, it serves as an outlet for you to release stress and also exercise increases endorphins (good feeling chemicals in your brain) for a period of time. As your endorphins go up your stress feelings go down.
Sleep, Sleep, Sleep
When we’re attending Christmas parties and having friends and family over, it is easy to push that bedtime later and later. For those of you with children, you know what they are like when they don’t get enough sleep. The same goes for adults. When adults do not get the adequate sleep they will feel more anxious, be more irritable and overall will feel unwell.
Ask for help
It is a strength to be smart enough to ask for help. There is no need to do everything yourself during the holiday season. Hire a house cleaner to come in before your Christmas party, recruit your family to help out. If someone offers to help out at a party or after your dinner party, take them up on it. We often feel that it’s polite to decline and that you can take care of everything yourself when hosting a party. But if you flip this around, when you attend your friends’ dinner party you offer to help clean up afterward. You wouldn’t offer if you weren’t ready to help out. So as a host, accept the offer.5
Have non-alcoholic options available
Having nonalcoholic options means more than having some water on hand. Ideally, you have a very well stocked non-alcoholic station. I like to have all kinds of options such as club soda, cranberry cocktails, orange juice and fresh garnishes such as lemon, limes, cucumbers, mint, and ginger. One thing we have found to be very helpful is to have a small recipe book on hand on virgin cocktails. Print these recipes or write multiple copies on some recipe cards. People who are driving or anyone who is not drinking often don’t know how to mix up a virgin cocktail, so help them out and provide the resources.