As massage therapists and bodywork specialists, our job is to relieve people’s stress and tension, as well as help them realize the importance of their mental and physical wellbeing. Finding balance is essential to not being overwhelmed during stressful times, especially during the holidays, when family and financial stress triggers happen frequently. Here are seven steps to beating the holiday stress to share with your clients:

  1. Stop the comparisons

Comparison is the enemy of happiness. Remember that it’s not about what other people have or where they’re going or what is under their trees. Comparing your lives to others is damaging and avoiding it will take a lot of unnecessary pressure off of yourself. Everyone has their own burdens, even when it doesn’t seem that way on social media.

  1. Take a little time to be grateful

Being grateful, even when you’re running late or your toddler is screaming in the department store, is essential. After all, that’s what the holidays are all about, right? Taking even just a few minutes each day to think about what you’re grateful for will keep you in the right mindset to enjoy the holidays.

  1. Get off your phone

Conversation is a lost art, especially at the dinner table. Encourage a No Phone Policy and get back to the basics. Start with, “So, how was your day?” If that doesn’t propel conversation, bring up an interesting article you’ve read recently. Engage the people you’re with and stop being taken hostage by your screens.

  1. Stretch every morning & night

Keeping your body limber will be helpful when you’re hanging lights on the roof or chasing your cousins’ kids around the backyard. Remember that your body is your best friend and your vessel; take time to give it a good stretch when you get out of bed in the morning and before you get back in at night. It will keep aches and pains at bay.

  1. Prepare as much as possible

Changing any game plan last minute adds unnecessary stress to any situation. Try to prepare your gift giving and travel plans in advance so that you don’t find yourself running around the day before Christmas trying to solidify details. Pack earlier than you think you should, wrap the presents the week before and fill up the tank the night before.  We know you already know this, so this year, do it already!

  1. Fight off the germs

Nothing will create chaos more than being sick during the holidays. The best way to stay healthy is to drink lots of fluids, wash your hands, and keep the surfaces in your common areas at home clean. Regular exercise and outdoor time (just a little each day does the trick) will help boost your immune system and help you fight off the bad germs you do encounter. You don’t have to live in fear of germs, but you can take precautions to keep you and your family healthy.

  1. Take a little time

In-laws got you angry? Kids got you exhausted? Don’t be afraid to take a little time out for yourself. If you don’t have time to make an appointment with your massage therapist, lock yourself in the laundry room and take a few breaths (and maybe a few sips of Aunt Judy’s egg nog). The holidays are a time to be with family and be thankful.  Take care of yourself, your environment, and the people you love – and have a very happy holiday time!