With all of the extra demands and expectations we place on ourselves during the holidays, it’s easy to get “stressed out.” Follow the tips below to help ease holiday stress and help you enjoy a meaningful and happy holiday season:
- Set a financial budget for the holidays and stick to it – Not just for gift giving, but for the top-dollar amount you can afford to spend for everything including gifts, big family dinners, wrapping paper, decorations, parties, etc. Plan what you will spend in advance, to avoid “impulse buying” and overspending.
- Budget your time as well as your money – Avoid the stress of last-minute shopping and preparations. Plan ahead. Make a “To Do” list and prioritize what has to be done. Set aside some time each day to accomplish scheduled holiday tasks.
- Keep holiday plans realistic – Don’t overload yourself. It’s not necessary to attend every family, social or religious celebration that comes along. When allotting your limited time, choose quality over quantity. Learn to say “no” gently but firmly to social events that are over your limit.
- Delegate responsibility – Share the shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. responsibilities with others. 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. Let family members know in advance when things need to be completed.
- 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. It’s “okay” to pass up an activity if you’re not feeling up to it at this time.
- Take care of yourself – Avoid overindulgence of holiday food, alcohol or caffeine.
Be sure to get adequate sleep and give yourself some time for rest or renewal each day.
- Don’t forget the after holiday blues – There are many tasks no one wants to be responsible for, but they still have to be done. For example taking down the Christmas tree or putting away holiday decorations. Have a “tree-taking-down party.”