The holidays are supposed to be a joyous time of happy families and friends gathering in a spirit of warmth and celebration. Yet, for many, the holidays are instead trials of grueling schedules and high stress. Follow the tips below to help ease holiday stress and help you enjoy a meaningful and happy holiday season:
* Set a budget and keep it – Not just for gift giving, but the top-dollar amount you can afford to spend for everything including gifts, big family dinners, wrapping paper, decorations, parties, etc.
* Suggest your family participate in a “Pick-A-Name” gift exchange – Buying presents for everyone in a large extended family can be a real “budget buster.” Some families pick names. This way everyone gets one nice, thoughtfully chosen gift and no one goes broke from the need to buy so many presents.
* Think about yourself during the holidays – This time of the year, many of us get the “put-upons” and start feeling the pressure. Deal with everyday stress immediately. Many times, we feel we just can’t handle everything right now, but once we attack the problem, we feel much better.
* Budget your time as well as your money – Plan for more rest and schedule some personal time to do something you enjoy.
* Keep holiday plans realistic – Simpler can be better and make for a happier and more relaxed holiday.
* Make a “To Do” list – Prioritize what has to be done.
* Delegate responsibility and/or divide the chores – Have family members draw lots from a hat or use the “grab-bag” system to assign tasks such as putting up the tree, outdoor decorations, cookie baking, gift wrapping, etc. Set time goals for each assignment.
* Factor in changed circumstances – Are you recently laid off, newly divorced, grieving a recent death? Now’s the time to “Keep It Simple.” Keep the demands on your time, energy, emotions and wallet to a minimum.
This holiday season, keep in mind that people – not things – are important and that less (spending, hectic activity) can give us more (satisfaction and meaning). Happy Holidays!