The holiday season is upon us and you may be feeling stressed out, worried, and wishing it was over already. Don’t let this year be another year where you feel you have to just “survive” the holidays. The words holiday and stress do not have to go hand-in-hand!
Here are some tips borrowed from our “Coping With The Holidaze” workshop that will help you keep your stress level down, your good cheer up, and allow you to focus on the “reason for the season,” whatever that may be for you and your family.
1. Eliminate unnecessary activities. My holiday decorating routine takes about 2 hours in total. About 80% of my decorations remain in the attic. Yes, at some point I need to go up and decide whether I need to keep all that stuff if I’m not going to use it. However, if my yard has a few festive touches, the tree is up, and my Christmas houses are on the mantle, it feels “Christmas-y” and that’s good enough for me.
You don’t need to spend days cleaning, decorating, and trying to achieve perfection. Focus on what’s important and know “when to say when.”
2. Delegate! If you can get your spouse and kids to help decorate, wrap, cook, bake, etc., then get the army moving. If not, it may be well worth it to outsource some things. No one will know you didn’t hang your own lights or bake your own cookies. You don’t have to (and probably can’t) do everything yourself!
3. Just say “NO!” You don’t have to attend every party, give a gift to every relative, or volunteer for every activity at your office or child’s school. Choose the activities you really WANT to do and for the others, say, “I’m sorry, I can’t.” For more help learning to say no, check out my past blog post, Just Say No: Five Simple Ways to Do It.
4. Manage children’s expectations and teach them to appreciate what they have. Whether you’re on a budget, or you just don’t want to raise spoiled brats, start early teaching your children that it’s not all about “stuff.” If this means a drastic change from the piles of gifts of years past, prepare them for the “new reality” beforehand.
5. Set a realistic spending budget so you won’t hate yourself in January. Spending more than you can afford at the holidays might make others happy, but you double your stress at the holidays and beyond if you spend more than you should on the gifts you give. Set a budget BEFORE you start shopping and stick to it. Additionally, when you’ve gotten the items on your list, STOP SHOPPING– even if that means saying no to friends or handing over the keys and your GPS (pre-programmed to the mall) to those visiting out-of-town relatives.
What other things do you do to reduce your holiday stress? Share them in the comments below to help others!