Overworked in the Kitchen? How To Relieve Holiday Stress?

Now is right about the time some of us may be feeling the pressure. The office party is looming, the neighbor down the street invited you over for cocktails, and you still have to make something for the school's holiday party. Your to-do list is reaching impressive proportions. We get it.

There are so many wonderful elements that comprise the holidays: seeing loved ones, entertaining, hosting get-togethers, and celebrating with colleagues. But within that comes much more time doing errands, prepping, and cooking. This extreme busyness can often detract from the joy and supposed peace of the season. So we'd love to take a moment to pause and talk about how you handle your holiday stress. We have a few ideas of our own, and then we'd love to hear yours!

1) Have Designated Daily "Me" Time: It can sound trite, but even if you devote ten minutes to doing something for yourself, you'll feel more relaxed this holiday season. This could be a short walk, reading a chapter of a new book, or a hot shower.

2) Rituals are Important. Find One. Routines help order the chaos in our lives. Maybe this looks like a special way you like to make your coffee in the morning or a cup of spiced hot chocolate at night. Whatever it is, however big or small, allow yourself to celebrate rituals this holiday season.

3) Plan Meals When You're Grocery Shopping: When you're planning meals or party recipes for others, the last thing you want to do is think about what you're going to feed yourself, your partner or your family that evening. If you're not in the habit of planning out meals in advance, do yourself a favor and try it just for a few days. It can be as simple as a stir fry, frittata, or baked chicken but you'll thank yourself for it when things get hectic mid-week.

4) Stockpile A Few Hostess Gifts: There's nothing worse than having to make a special trip out at the end of a long workday to get an emergency bottle of wine or hostess gift. Stock up -- you'll be relieved on party night when you open the cupboard and have a few options at hand.

5) Try Something New: Choosing a challenge in the kitchen (or out of the kitchen) is a great way to keep your mind focused and to de-stress. It sounds counter-intuitive in a way: you've got enough to do, why would you want to add learning how to make homemade marshmellows to the mix? But a new task or project will make you feel gratified in a way that whipping up the same old dessert just can't.

Now we'd love to hear from you: what do you do to relieve holiday stress?

Related: Stress-Less Dinner Tip: Set the Table the Night Before

(Image: Megan Gordon)