While the holidays are supposed to be a joyous time of year, sometimes it seems like as soon as Halloween is over life becomes a sprint. From the pre-Thanksgiving Friendsgiving events, all the way up until the post-Christmas sales and New Year’s planning, sometimes it feels like we can’t catch a break from the holiday stress during this busy time of year. But you don’t have to let the stress get to you. Here are some tips on how to make the holidays as happy as they’re supposed to be.
While I’m all about the travel deals, at this point it’s becoming a bit late to make travel plans if you haven’t done so already. But booking your itinerary is just half of the battle. Whether you’re going by train, plane, bus, or car, things are likely to be a bit more hectic than they would be on other days of the year. New Year’s Eve, Christmas, and the day before Thanksgiving all fall into the top 10 busiest travel days of the year.
When you’re packing, try to keep it to the essentials. I am the biggest culprit of over packing, but I try to remind myself that there is absolutely no reason I will need to bring three different styles of sneakers and another two pairs of dress shoes to my mom’s home for a four day trip. You’ll thank yourself while you’re lugging the bag to the car or station. But do think about packing what will make the trip a bit more enjoyable—perhaps a favorite bath product or basic supplies for a spa-like experience at home if you’ll be able to escape for a bit once you’ve completed the journey.
If you’re headed to the airport, train, or bus station, you already know that you’re obviously going to need some extra time. But maybe add an even bit more extra time to collect your thoughts and mentally prepare at home before you go. Do some yoga or try some meditation techniques. Perhaps even just with an app—Headspace and Smiling Mind are the two top-rated mindfulness apps on Psychology Today, both of which are free!
This should get you into a better mood when you get to the station, but the massive crowds of frantic travelers are likely to be enough to set you over the edge. My favorite way to deal with this is with music—at least that way you can help to tune out the surrounding sounds even if you can’t escape the visuals. Maybe choose something upbeat, which will get you moving quickly through the crowds and make you feel like you’re at a nightclub instead of say, Newark Airport. Or if you prefer to distance yourself from the crowd around you, try choosing some more natural or soothing music to help you forget about how crazy the world is around you. The station and people around you only have as much control over your emotions as you allow them to. Keep the music going as you start your journey to make you feel more at ease.