Not everyone feels comfort and joy during the holidays. Sometimes it may start out that way, but with the chaos of shopping, the expectations of family and the endless travel, it’s easy to see how a winter wonderland might not always feel so wonderful. Have patience with yourself. It’s okay to feel stressed during the holidays, but it’s also important to recognize that things don’t have to be that way. Here are a few ways you can reduce stress and anxiety while visiting family, taking a solo trip or traveling with you partner during the holidays.
Stress-Free Family Vacation
Not looking forward to political chats with your father or shopping with your mother-in- law? Remove the pressure of family expectations during your holiday vacation by:
● Taking breaks for solo activities like walking, running, napping or reading to reduce some of the tension.
● Getting your family to bond over something meaningful by volunteering or helping people in need.
● Talking to your partner or siblings ahead of time about helping to identify and diffuse high anxiety situations.
● Reserving a room at a hotel or a vacation rental to put space between you and your family.
● Schedule a massage, facial or other relaxing self-care treat to help remove tension from
your mind and body.
● Doing something fun everyday, something you enjoy. Invite your family to join you, but regardless of their choice, go out and make the most of your vacation.
Stress-Free Solo Trip
If you’re using the upcoming holiday time off to enjoy a solo vacation, you may think that being alone would naturally be low stress. However, traveling during the holiday season can still mean crowds, cancelled flights and other inconveniences that can really push your blood pressure. Here are some ways to stay calm and collected during a solo trip:
● Go with the flow. If an issue arises, like a missed flight or a sub-par hotel room, take a deep breath and roll with it. Don’t give in to the disappointment of an expectation that did not quite turn out how you’d hoped. If you can fix it, focus on that, like talking to the airline desk to get on a different flight or asking the concierge to change your rooms. If that doesn’t work, adapt. Take the next best option and think positively about what you can do, not negatively about what you can’t.
● Make sure things are secured at home. The last thing you need while thousands of miles away from home is a call from the police or your house alarm company. Be sure to leave your house in good hands; the holiday season often sees a spike in home burglaries. Have a friend come by for the mail and to turn on/off lights or hire a housesitter. Put plants in front of doors and windows that you think might be prone to break-ins. It also
helps to let your neighbors know you’ll be out of town.
Stress-Free Travel with Your Partner
No one doubts that you love your partner, even if occasionally the stress of road trips or air travel results in some bickering. However, traveling can take a toll on any couple. Here are a few ways to stay focused on relaxing and enjoying your time together:
● Create road trip playlists or podcasts that you both enjoy listening to.
● Be clear on responsibilities and who will own what roles.
● Create and go over a checklist to make sure everyone has all their essential documents for travel.
● Choose your battles. Avoid backseat driving or nagging about mistakes that can’t be unchanged. Compromise whenever you can.
● Be supportive when your significant other makes a mistake. Keep calm and so will they.
Vacations weren’t meant to be stressful, but often they have their moments, especially during the holidays. Before you leave, talk to the people who can most impact your stress levels, from family to neighbors to partners, to make sure everyone’s on board with planning a fun and relaxing vacation.
Henry Moore is a guest editor. You can find his inciteful travel artciles at FitWellTraveler.org.
*Photo by Pixabay