The holidays are a great time of the year. But for some people, it can also be a very stressful time. This is often because the holidays are super busy—and there’s always something to do or think about, from traveling, preparing for family visits, buying gifts, cooking, shopping, and attending parties. The list seems to go on…
Holiday duties should be handled in advance whenever possible. So give yourself time by making a list of the things that need to be done, and start early. Here are some other tips to help you beat the holiday stress blues…
1. Set Priorities
When you have many tasks to handle, you may feel really overwhelmed. It helps to set priorities in advance. Take care of the most essential tasks first and work down the list. What is most important to you? It should be connecting with your family first, and then everything else comes after. This includes making the appropriate food choices and the shopping experience.
2. Set Practical Expectations
You are not going to have everything done perfectly. And guess what? It is quite okay! You are not going to be able to control each and every detail and outcome. However, you can mentally prepare for the worst by setting practical expectations and remaining calm and positive if something goes wrong, especially at the last minute.
3. Set a Realistic Budget
Money, and the lack of it, can cause holiday stress. Avoid this by setting a realistic budget. This means that for every gift you intend to buy, you should have a specific monetary amount to spend. Don’t deviate from your budget. And this includes money spent on decorations, food, entertainment, and travel, too.
Don’t try to impress family and friends with highly priced gifts. The gifts you give should be thoughtful. Try small gifts with handmade cards this year or plan a “Secret Santa” gift-giving session as another option.
4. Plan ahead
It is important to plan ahead before your guests arrive. Set aside certain days to go shopping, to cook, and to bake. Plan the menu before going food shopping. Get as much help before and after the holiday celebration – for the preparation and clean up phase.
5. Take it Down a Notch
Don’t take it so seriously! The holiday season is going to come and go, just like every other year. While it may be important to you to make an impression with your yearly holiday rituals, you have to do what is in your best interest. Nothing should be set in stone.
If you have to make some minor changes to lessen your stress, then by all means do so. Let’s say you used to make an ice sculpture every year. Why not relinquish that idea this year and do something different (and a little less extravagant)?
In spite of your best efforts, there may be times when you feel overwhelmed, anxious, frustrated, tired, or even depressed during the holidays. Remember, the holidays are a joyous time and are meant to be enjoyed with family and friends. When that happens, it is time to sit down and take a breather. Never be afraid to seek the help of a medical professional if you feel you need it.