Can you believe it? … November is here! That means the holidays are literally “right around the corner!” While many people say that this is the most wonderful time of the year, all too often the holidays are low on cheer and high on stress. With the holidays just weeks away, many people are already stressed about finding that perfect gift, decorating the perfect tree or cooking that perfect holiday meal.
This is the time of year when most of us get pretty stressed out. Honestly, how can we not? The kids have a ton of activities to attend before the holiday break arrives, parents have work functions, holiday meal prep and shopping to do and lets not forget about cleaning the house, mailing off those holiday cards and just keeping up with the regular day to day chores that we have.
The good news is that there are a few things that you can do to help you reduce your holiday stress level.
Budget – Set a budget for the things you’ll spend over the holidays for gifts, postage, wrapping materials, food and beverages. Try to purchase things over the course of the months leading to the holidays rather than having to spend everything at once. Be on the lookout for sales and coupons so that you can get the most bang for your holiday buck.
Prioritize – Once all of the holiday activity notices start making their way into your house, sit down with your family and decide together which ones are the most important and which ones can probably be skipped this year. Create a calendar so that the entire family is on the same page and aware of what is coming. Don’t be afraid to cross an activity off the agenda this year…it will give you more time to focus on something else, which will help your stress level tremendously.
Start Early – You know that the holidays are coming so why not get a jump start on them? Be sure not to wait until the last minute to get things done. You can start now and get some things done in advance. You can purchase, write out and address your holiday cards sooner rather than later. This way, when the time comes, all you have to do is drop the into the mailbox. Many stores (online and offline) are already having sales so if you shop early, you can wrap your gifts in advance. By getting things out of the way early, you will find that you can actually enjoy the holidays with a little less stress.
Recruit Help – One of the biggest mistakes people make is to try to do everything on their own. Why not make holiday prep a family affair. When you think about it, getting the entire family involved in the holiday preparations will help to create beautiful family memories. You can assign age appropriate tasks to the children. When you think about it, even a 4 year old can put stamps on envelopes. Enlist the entire family to help prepare the meals, decorate the inside or outside of your home, clean up the house and more. There is no reason for 1 person to do it all.
Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff – So what if the turkey comes out at tad dry or if the gift you wrapped looks hideous! The whole point of the holidays is to enjoy your family and friends. Try to roll with the punches when things don’t turn out quite as planned. Just focus on the reason for the season and make the best out of every situation.
Take Time for Yourself – It is too easy to get caught up in the rush of the holidays. Be sure that you take care of yourself and allow for some down time in your busy schedule. How will you enjoy the holidays if you are stressed out? Try taking a walk by yourself, reading or maybe a long bath to unwind. Also, be sure that you are getting adequate rest. Why not schedule a special day or evening for you and your partner to just unwind? What about setting aside a few hours for you and a good friend to get together just to hang out? When thinking about downtime, don’t forget about the kids. Children also need some unscheduled downtime too. All of the running around, sweets, visitors, trips to stores and homework packets that many children receive over the holiday break can start to stress out the kids. Why not schedule a day to invite a few of their friends over just to play and have fun? By adding some downtime into your family schedule, you will notice a huge decrease in stress levels.
No matter how many holiday parties you have to attend and no matter how many items are on your to do list, you can learn how to stay organized and sane this holiday season. There’s no sense in running yourself ragged and feeling like you have to do everything by yourself. Try a few (or all) of the tips above and lower your stress and enjoy this holiday season.