How to Keep Your Holiday Season Free of Stress
80% of people feel stressed around the holidays. It is no surprise with all the shopping, buying gifts, cooking, wrapping, sending cards, attending holiday events, and fitting in visits to all the relatives. Here are some simple solutions to decrease stress around this hectic time.
If you can, before the holiday season begins - make a plan.
- Talk to family about how gifts will be handled this year. Will you purchase gifts for eveyone, draw names out of a hat, or come up with a different gift giving scenario? Cutting down on the number of gifts that need to be purchased saves money and time. When you save money and time you feel less stressed!
- Start shopping early - I bought my first Christmas present in August this year. It wasn't planned but I saw something my son would like and bought it then. I set the gift aside for now and am adding to the pile of gifts slowly. Starting early spreads out the expense over several months instead of just one. It also helps with last minute shopping stress because I am already that much further along in the gift buying process.
- If you are sending out holiday cards, start thinking about them early. Put the dates on the calendar when you want to take pictures, order the cards, address the cards, and send them out. If you don't make a plan the season will be nearly over before you realize you missed something. Of course, missing something is okay too. There have been plenty of years when I have decided not to send cards out at all.
- Schedule family get togethers early.I don't know about you but it really stresses me out when I don't know what the plan is. To avoid this, schedule your family get togethers well in advance. Decide where they are going to be, when, who is bringing what, and how gifts are going to be handled. This will eliminate the last minute stress of figuring out how your going to see all your relatives in one or two days because you will know the plan in advance. That way, you can plan accordingly.
Eat Healthy, Sleep, & Exercise
The holiday season sometimes feels like a marathon. If you want to make it to the end, you need to take care of yourself. Eat healthy, get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly so you can make it through.
Don't do it all yourself. Enlist your family and friends to help out with the holiday plans. Have your kids work on the decorations or your spouse set up the tree.
Don't stress if everything is not perfect. Most people won't notice anyway. Ask yourself - what is the worst thing that will happen if I don't complete this one task? In most cases, the answer is nothing. It will not be the end of the world if the silver is not polished or names are not written in calligraphy on cups. Skip the stuff that won't really make a difference. Keep it simple and you will be more relaxed and able to enjoy the holiday.
At this time of the year we are bombarded with invitations to go to events and parties and to participate in activities. Choose wisely. Don't say yes to everything your asked to participate in. If you make too many commitments and you aren't able to make them all, you will feel guilty. Guilt is just going to add to your stress. It's okay to say no to some things. Choose the events that are most important to you and only say yes to those.
Be Nice to Yourself
Don't forget about you. In between doing things for everyone else, reserve some time for yourself. You can take a nap, read a book, get a massage, take a hot bath - whatever helps you relax and makes you happy.
Connect with Friends and Family
The joy of the season is not created by buying the biggest most expensive gifts. It is about spending quality time with your loves ones. Share memories with them. Take time to laugh and enjoy their company. Let them enjoy your company.
Spread Holiday Cheer
Finally, do something for someone that cannot repay you. You will put a little more happiness into their holiday and get some back as well.