So, I was out for a quick run to Target earlier this week. Key Phrase: Quick Run. Um, yah, forget about it. Well, thankfully I wasn’t dragging my daughter through the craziness, but I’m thinking she would have handled it better than I did.

I was weaving through people, trying to just get some quick items and then be done with the mayhem. I passed couples with multiple children fighting in the aisles, people stopped in a daze everywhere, crying children, laughing children, banging carts, price check calls over the loudspeaker. I started thinking, wow, this SUCKS! Everyone seemed frustrated, stressed and overwhelmed–INCLUDING ME! I had even been muttering under my breath the whole time for people to get the $@!!XX of my way! It was the same in the parking lot, though I was pretty zen at first and found a spot quickly.

So, what’s the deal then? Why are we all so insane right now? Can it really be just the act of getting presents for others or a rush to finish some THING before the end of the year? Maybe all of the above, but it made me start thinking… Why are we all stress monkeys this time of the year?

I wish I could give you an answer, the antidote…a mantra to say over and over again until calm washes over you and you can teleport back to your home unfettered. I can’t. I am also struggling with the stress and have been increasingly anxious over the past few days too!

Here’s what I’m going to do try to alleviate some of the stress.

1. Try to figure out why you are feeling so strung out. Write it out and put the paper away. Just get it all out. Even if it seems a bit ridiculous and whiny. Don’t write this for anyone. I get stressed at the holidays because of my expectations of the holiday and being around family. I start to feel like everyone is going to take control of the situation when I don’t really need to be in control either.

2. Spend time each night listening to soothing music, having a cup of tea, and reading. (I did this last night and it actually helped, but took awhile).

3. Stay Active…even if you can’t do a workout at home like you normally due to the staring eyes of family or other visitors, don’t despair. Get outside, take a walk, plan a yoga class, try a new gym. Tomorrow morning, I’m going to a yoga class I’ve wanted to check out for a long time!

4. Drink Plenty of Water and Try to eat as healthy as possible. I can’t stress this enough. I’ve been in and out of headache land for the last 2 days now because of one thing… I was guilty of mindless munching on food that causes headaches for me…excess sugar!!!

5. If the grandparents or other trustworthy relatives are visiting, let them watch the kids and go get a massage or see a movie. My husband and I are doing that starting Monday.

6. Feeling overwhelmed due to excess noise, activity or just general loudness? Just go to another room, take some deep breaths and then go back to the party when you feel a little more relaxed. I guess I’m really sensitive to loud noises and especially battling tv/computer/voices sounds… I did this a lot and it really helped me enjoy my time with my in laws.

I’ll let you know how the rest of the week goes. I’m already feeling a little more relaxed and I haven’t even started my week of yoga classes!

How are you staying sane, relaxed, and joyful during this holiday season?