Managing Holiday Season Stress

The holiday season is a joyous time, and Christmas is only one week away as I write this post. It’s a time to relax, reconnect with family and friends, and outfit the home with festive decorations. Most of us are also juggling gift shopping, wrapping presents, traveling, and perhaps worrying about the additional expenses that come with the holidays.

Here are some tips to buffer against stress over the holidays.

  • Delegate– Do you really have to do all the Christmas shopping yourself? No! Even if you are the best gift shopper and wrapper, you can still delegate other tasks such as grocery shopping, childcare, food prep, and daily household chores.
  • Create a budget– I’m assuming that you haven’t been saving all year for gifts. The only way to know how much money you have to spend toward the holidays is by calculating disposable money from paid bills. Withdraw this money from the bank and shop for presents using cash only. Decide in advance how much you will spend on each gift, and stick to your budget. If money is tight, consider baking or creating coupons such as “one night of free childcare.”
  • Use your planner– Keep track of events and errands by writing them down in your calendar or planner. Alleviate unnecessary mental energy needed to remember details. Just be sure to check your planner every day!
  • Create lists that include reasonable tasks- Feeling overwhelmed? What REALLY has to get done today? Write these down, and breakdown bigger tasks into smaller, manageable ones. You may realize that what you’re dreading is quite feasible. Also, checking off as you complete your tasks easily creates a sense of accomplishment.
  • Avoid over scheduling- Practice saying “No.” Selecting the most important activities to attend and declining the rest promotes good personal boundaries and putting yours needs first.
  • Use an easy relaxation technique- Breathe. Deeply. Practice inhaling to the count of four, hold for four, and exhaling to the count of four. Deep breathing is an effective way of staving off anxiety.