9 Tips for a Less Stressful Holiday SeasonJessica Cohen
They say that it is the most wonderful time of the year, but they often conveniently forget to say that it can also be the most stressful time of the year. We want to enjoy the holidays, celebrating happily with family and friends, but not quite knowing how we are possibly going to get it all done. Sound familiar?
Please don’t tell my kids, but Hanukkah starts tomorrow and I still have no idea what they are getting for gifts this year. A couple of them are planned out but for the most part it is going to be a holiday-by-the-seat-of-our-pants kind of year. I should probably decorate the house today too. (Yikes!)
Between wrapping up year-end items for work, entertaining family, budgeting for gifts, buying gifts, wrapping gifts, sending cards, cooking, baking, and decorating, when is there time or energy left over to spread that good old holiday cheer? Talk about a Christmas miracle.
It turns out that there are a few simple, handy-dandy ways to make the holidays less stressful so you can enjoy the time with family and friends in a way that really matters:
Tips for a Less Stressful Holiday Season 1 of 10
Make lists. 2 of 10
Doesn't it seem like all the most organized people you know carry lists with them, have lists in their phones, or talk incessantly about their to-do lists? Even if you cannot be one of those people all the time, try it for the holiday season. Make a list of the things you need to do, the people you need to get a gift for, or the items you need to get at the supermarket.
Delegate. 3 of 10
Relinquish any need you may have to control the holidays, and focus on enjoying them instead. Get the kids and your significant other to help with decorating, wrapping presents, baking, and so on. Dividing up the tasks and doing it together can make it fun! This is not a one man show, people. You family will be much better off pitching in now and having a happier you later.
Turn preparation time into family time. 4 of 10
You do not have to wait until Christmas Eve to make the holidays about family. Nor do you need to lose your sanity because you are determined to put adorable little faces on gingerbread cookies just like the ones you saw on Pinterest. Instead, let your kids use their imagination to decorate the cookies. They will have fun, you will enjoy it too, and those cookies will be even more perfect than the ones you saw on Pinterest.
Stop comparing yourself to others. 5 of 10
Pinterest is great for ideas, but it can also make you feel like the only person on the block who does not have a holiday with adorably, shiny, neat, perfectly decorated everything. That is not reality, my friends. Sure, we all have a friend or two who seem to take the holiday season further than the rest. If you want to use Pinterest or other online resources to get a few new ideas, then go for it. On the other hand, if social media is making you feel like an inept holiday slacker, get off-line and do whatever it is that you do best. Just remember that many of those photos are styled to perfection, and for every photo you do see, there are many others left unposted.
Shop smarter. 6 of 10
If shopping is what causes you stress, look for ways to shop smarter. Cut coupons to save money. Go early in the morning or late at night when the stores are not so crowded and people are not honking at one another over parking spots. Shop at your regular stores first, where you know the layout of the store and can more easily find what you need. Better yet, look online for great deals and shop from your sofa to avoid the hustle and bustle altogether.
Make time for you. 7 of 10
What can you do with the hours you saved shopping online and letting your kids help decorate cookies, wrap presents, or decorate the house? Enjoy it, baby. Hit the gym, take a walk, read a book, buy a gift or two for yourself, or do whatever it is that gives you a little break this season too.
Do not be a martyr. 8 of 10
That is the bottom line. If there are small ways you can make life easier for yourself this holiday season, do them. Perhaps for you this means letting someone else bring items to dinner, or letting the store wrap your gifts rather than having every gift in matching paper. Maybe it is simply about waiting until you have all of the necessities completed before taking on any extra tasks. Whatever simplifying the holidays means for you, go ahead and give yourself the break that you deserve too.
Make healthy choices. 9 of 10
Between the plentiful delicious food and overflowing glasses, the holiday season can lead to added stress over weight gain. In no way does this does mean you should enjoy yourself during the holidays with a few treats or some bubbly. Experts suggest: thinking ahead about what you might consume, making time to exercise, tracking your calories, watching portion sizes, and not straying too far from your regular routine.
People who have a tendency to use food to deal with stress (guilty as charged) should be particularly careful about planning ahead, so the most wonderful time of year does not lead to additional stress of losing holiday weight gain.
Think of others. 10 of 10
When you are feeling stressed, remember how many people are unable to celebrate with elaborate meals, big family get-togethers and lots of presents. Let your children choose a gift for someone less fortunate. Take a tray of cookies to people who are working on Christmas day. Put a quarter in a jar every time you feel stressed out during the holidays, and donate the money collected to a charitable organization. Whatever it is that you decide to do, remember that the holidays are not only a time spent with family, but a time you can use to spread cheer to others as well. Happy holidays!
Jessica also recently wrote:
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Images in this post are from Morguefile.com.