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10 Ways to Make Going Home for the Holidays Less Stressful

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Here are 10 ways to lessen your holiday headaches during your break

The holidays can be a truly magical time in our lives, but they can also be equally as headache-inducing. From needing to wrap and pack all your gifts, to overcrowded (and pricey!) plane and bus rides, to indulging in too many sweets and not enough exercise, sometimes the holidays can just be overwhelming.

The key to getting through this season successfully is by maintaining balance; the same kind of balance you work so hard for throughout the rest of the year. This winter, keep your feet firmly planted and your mind free and clear with these 10 tips for reducing holiday headaches — and making your plans much more fulfilling.

Double Check All Those Travel Essentials

Even if you have to pack in a hurry, make sure to double-check that you have all your travel essentials: a toothbrush, hair care, tweezers, and a travel-safe first-aid kit that includes any pain relievers you might need. Including a bottle of Excedrin Extra Strength to help relieve your headache pain fast (for some, relief starts in just 15 minutes) is never a bad idea.

Give Thanks For The Little Things

Feeling gratitude for both the big and small things when you’re feeling overwhelmed always seems to help stress and headaches melt away. Are you thankful that you didn’t sit by someone who wouldn’t stop talking on the airplane? Or maybe it’s just that you’re healthy enough to travel to see family and loved ones. Even though they’re small, these little moments of gratitude can have a big payoff.

Unplug

Simply being present with family and friends can fill your cup just as much as scrolling through cute dog pictures on Instagram. So put down your phone and live in the here and now.

Plan, Plan, Plan Your Trip

If you’re flying, get to the airport with ample time to spare so you can avoid sprinting to your gate if the security line is long. If you’re traveling by car, be sure to map out your route before you start driving, and don’t forget to plan your rest stops, too.

Make a Coffee Date With Old Friends

Getting nostalgic with old friends while sipping on a peppermint hot chocolate in a local cafe will definitely leave your heart full and your head less stressed.

Decide on One Goal You Can Accomplish

Stress can often kick in when we feel like our holiday break got away from us. Set one or two goals for your time away. Do you want to run a few miles one morning, cook a meal for your family, or spend 30 minutes doing yoga? Achieving just a single one will leave you feeling empowered instead of anxious.

Use Food to Nourish

It’s natural to want to connect with loved ones over food during the holidays, but just because there are sweets and treats galore doesn’t mean you have to throw your healthy habits out the window — especially if you know you’ll feel regret afterward. Try to find a middle ground between indulging mindfully and overdoing it.

Get Up and Get Out

Getting the whole family to join you on a brisk winter walk or at a fun fitness class is a great way to not only strengthen family bonds, but also to relieve any family-induced stress together.

Nurture Your Inner Artist

Let the magic of the holiday season bring out your creativity! Journaling, baking something from scratch, or taking a bunch of fun photos are all ways to focus on the positive energy around you.

Give Back

It’s amazing how much giving back to others can affect our mood and our ability to take little issues in stride. Taking time to volunteer at a local soup kitchen or even visiting your elderly neighbor will not only bring a little joy to someone else’s life, it’ll bring joy to yours, too!