It's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, but with gifts to purchase, parties to plan, decorations to arrange and food to prepare, Christmas can be the most stressful. So much so that 30% of millennials associate negative feelings with the holiday season and 17% would rather skip Christmas altogether, according to a survey done by investment app Mylo.
Dr. Brynn Winegard, a professor and business-brain science expert at the Schulich School of Business at the University of Guelph, told Global News that people tend to react differently to stress during the holidays. What everyone shares in common, however, is what happens in the brain when anxiety ramps up.
"The brain, we say, circulates something called cortisol, and that is one of the families of glucocorticoids, which are stress hormones," Winegard explained. "When you start circulating those stress hormones, you end up with some compromised abilities."
Winegard went on to point out that stress has a way of affecting just about everything in the body like sleep patterns, mood, concentration and the immune system.
Everyone wants Christmas to go off without a hitch. But if you allow stress to take control, it might not be worth the effort. Here are a few helpful hacks to make some of your various holiday season activities go a bit smoother:
1. Jazz Up Existing Interior Features
For many, part of the holiday headache is hauling out all the Christmas decorations from storage, not to mention all the cleanup that's involved when December 25th passes. Instead, try wrapping garland around banisters and railings and hanging colorful bulbs from light fixtures or chandeliers, Buzzfeed recommended.
2. Make Holiday Lights Tangle-Free
Rigging up twinkle lights on the tree and the mantelpiece can be frustrating when they get tangled in knots - as they always seem to do. Spare yourself from the annoyance by first wrapping the light strand around a clothes hanger. Just unwrap the strand as you go along. Just be sure to plug the cord in first to ensure they all work.
3. Make Sugar Cookies with the Kids
Everyone loves cookies, but these too can be a hassle, especially if the recipes are really involved. As an alternative, make some sugar cookies. They're not only seasonal and simple to prepare, but they can keep your kids busy, decorating them with sprinkles and frosting while using cookies cutters in holiday-themed shapes.
4. Keep Santa's Spirit Alive
If you have young children, they'll want proof that Santa Claus bounded down the chimney aside from the gifts and milk and cookies devoured. Buzzfeed has a great idea where you can show exactly where St. Nick walked. Just spread a light dusting of flour or powdered sugar around a pair of shoes or boots. Voila! An outline of where he stood.
5. Use Ring-Shaped Cereal to Make Elf-Size Doughnuts
Has your Elf on the Shelf game run its course? You can mix things up a bit this holiday by using Cheerios, Fruit Loops or similarly shaped cereal to make miniature doughnuts for the Elf to hold. Smart School House has some great step-by-step directions and what other ingredients you'll need.
With a little creativity and a few deep breaths, you can make this Christmas more relaxing and less taxing.