Escape holiday stress

Driving to my friend’s house on Thanksgiving, I listened to Talk of the Nation on NPR. Amy Dickinson, the advice columnist for the Chicago Tribune, was the guest, and they were talking about how to find suitable gifts for less money.

Many of us are entering this holiday season with a smaller budget for Christmas/holiday gifts. The show got me thinking about how everyone feels stressed, and this season I think people will be feeling it even more.

This elf I saw on flickr is really stressed! Instead of curling into the fetal position, try some of these things to make the holidays a little less stressful:

  1. Go for a walk or a hike. Exercise i the perfect stress buster!
  2. If you go to the malls, plan your trip at low-peak hours. I go about an hour before the stores close. Fewer people are out at this time, so you won’t have to jockey for position in line or wait as long. One caveat, however… after a long day, store employees might be frustrated. You might be, too. Take a deep breath and offer a cheerful smile. It will help everyone!
  3. Travel to a rural setting and enjoy the calm of a small town. (Shameless plug: It just so happens that Cochise County has some great small towns like Benson, Bisbee, DouglasSierra Vista, Tombstone and Willcox. You might want to visit!) There are fewer people to line up at the stores, and they often have unique shops. Travel is rejuvenation, and small towns can help
  4. Plan a day or a weekend and do some bird watching. The sandhill cranes have started their migration south to Cochise County. The cranes frequent the Willcox Playa, a dry lake bed, the Sulphur Springs Valley, an area between Willcox and Bisbee/Douglas and the San Bernardino and Leslie Canyon Wildlife Refuges, east of Douglas. Birds gather near the Environmental Operations Park in Sierra Vista and near the San Pedro that runs through Cochise County. Watch these and other wintering birds. Nature can be so calming!
  5. Instead of worrying about a gift, plan some time with a friend or your special someone. My high school friend and I never have enough time to visit when I’m home for the holidays. This year, however, she’ll be in town two weeks before Christmas for work. So, we’re planning some fun beforehand.
  6. Donate. Food banks, toy drives and charities will need your donations more than ever this year. Why not consider adopting a family or donating? Giving to others helps spread holiday cheer, and it makes you feel good too!   

Another blog I read from time to time is They have a post about “uncluttered” holidays. I think it’s worth a read if you are someone who has too much stuff!

What other ideas do you have? Leave a comment with your best stress-busting techniques for the holidays!

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