Tips for De-Stressing and Enjoying the Holiday Season

By Sarah Frazier, ACSM-CPT
For most of us, the holidays are a joyous time of year, full of parties, delicious food, and some much needed time off. But for some, the holidays can be a stressful time with anxiety coming from a variety of different sources including lack of work-life balance, perfectionist tendencies, or grief. However you approach the holidays, here are some ways to relieve some stress and truly enjoy the season!
  1. Manage your expectations. Ask yourself, “what do I enjoy most during the holidays?” and let those things be the main focus of your energy. This will help to keep you from getting caught up in things that are not a priority or that don’t bring you joy.
  2. Have a game plan, and start early. Whether you are hosting or cooking/baking, planning a party, or just shopping for the holidays, come up with a game plan! Then, start early in your execution so you don’t feel rushed or like you are sacrificing in the end.
  3. Compromise is key. Trying to stick to “Plan A” will not always work. And you will find it much easier to enjoy the holiday season when you allow yourself to be a little flexible and open to compromise (be it with yourself or those around you).
  4. Little breaks can do wonders. Constantly running around for the holiday season can do a number on your holiday cheer! Give yourself at least 30 minutes each day to focus on relaxation and self care. 
  5. Work as a team. You are not Santa! Consider asking family members to contribute sides to the holiday get-together, ask your coworkers to contribute to holiday decorating, or suggest drawing names for gifts instead of getting a gift for everyone. This way, you spread out the responsibilities of the season and all the stress does not fall on one person.
  6. Remember, the holidays can’t magically fix everything. Sometimes, things are still tough around the holidays, and that is okay! Surround yourself with supportive friends and family to be there when you need it, and open yourself to fun and enjoyment as much as possible during this holiday season.
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Recipe of the week: Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Butternut Squash, Pumpkin Seeds, and Cranberries
3 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
1.5 lb. butternut squash peeled, seeded, and cubed
4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
3 tbsp. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup dried cranberries
Salt to taste
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil and set aside.
  2. In one bowl, combine the Brussels sprouts, 2 tbsp. olive oil, and salt to taste. Toss well to combine.
  3. In a second bowl, combine butternut squash, 2 tbsp. olive oil, maple syrup, and cinnamon. Toss well to combine.
  4. Spread the Brussels sprout and and butternut squash mixtures in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, flipping about halfway through, until the squash and Brussels sprouts are fork tender and slightly brown. Let cool.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, pumpkin seeds, and dried cranberries. Toss to combine, and season with salt to taste.