It’s no secret that the holiday season can be a stressful one. There are celebrations to plan, meals to cook, gifts to be purchased, and for some a lot of traveling to be done. Is it possible to get through this time with ease and enjoyment?!?! Absolutely! Below are some tips to help you wrap up 2015 with little stress.
Cultivating Change’s Tips for Beating Holiday Stress:
1.) Plan ahead – Schedule your family/friend gatherings ahead of time so you’re not left the week before a holiday trying to fit everyone into your schedule. Remove this frustration by talking with family and friends early. This can also be helpful if you need to purchase tickets for a flight.
2.) Make lists – My friends and family often laugh at my constant need to make lists, but I say if you want to keep all of that information in your head, go right ahead! Me, on the other hand, I like to plan ahead by making lists. Create a list of people you need to purchase gifts for and fill in what you will get as ideas come to mind. Create a list of foods you may need to purchase or prepare for your holiday gatherings. It save a lot of time, and stress, if you only need to go to the store once instead of multiple times because you forgot something.
3.) Create a schedule…and stick to it – Note what you need to accomplish during the month prior to a holiday, the week leading up to the holiday, and the day before or day of. This can include gift shopping, gift wrapping, decorating, cooking, and cleaning. Do what you can ahead of time so you’re not left trying to finish everything at the last minute.
4.) Simplify your gift giving – Contrary to what retail corporations would have us believe, the holidays are not just about gift giving. Although we may feel compelled to buy something for everyone, it is often easier on us, and our wallets, if we create activities such as a Yankee Swap to limit the number of gifts you need to prepare. Sometimes its even helpful to limit gift giving to the little ones in your life. Another option is creating handmade or baked gifts. This requires a little more preparation and time, but can help keep finances in check. Still feel like you don’t have “enough?” Focus on creating traditions with family and friends rather than giving gifts.
5.) Give back – Always remember that while you are enjoying the holidays, there are people out there with less. Make it a priority to find something you can do for someone else during this season. Whether it’s donating time, gifts, or money, helping others is a great way to show appreciation for what we have. It can also reduce some of your own stress when you see the joy you might bring to others.
6.) Breathe, Relax, and Enjoy – Regardless of what stresses you out most about the holidays, remember what is important. It is not about eating, drinking, shopping, and gifts. It’s about sharing this time with others, being grateful, and sharing peace, joy, and love. Year to year, it’s not the gifts that will be remembered, but the memories that are made, the people they were shared with, and the happiness that was felt. Don’t let undue holiday stress distract you from these very simple things.