Visiting family and friends, attending parties, buying gifts, and indulging in holiday treats are all things we look forward to this time of year. However, too much of these good things can lead to feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Here are some ideas to help you have a more wonderful and less stressful holiday season.
Make a List and Check It Twice
During the holiday season it is important to prioritize your time and resources. Making a holiday game plan can help you figure out what you really want to do this holiday season and help you avoid things that you really do not want to do. Are there certain activities you enjoy doing with family and friends (build a snowman, drink hot chocolate, look at holiday lights, etc.)? Make a list of things that you want to do and prioritize items in the list. Is there a holiday party you traditionally attend that is a stressful experience for you? You do not have to attend every party or gathering. If it does not make your list, respectfully decline. Making a list and checking it twice will help you save time, money, and sanity by doing the things that make you happy and avoiding the things that do not.
Set a Realistic Budget
Part of making holiday plans can include creating a realistic budget—and sticking to it. Make a list and an amount of money you want to spend on each person you have to buy for this holiday season. Real Simple magazine has a great gift budget worksheet you can download for free. If you feel you are buying gifts for too many people, suggest hosting a gift exchange where people don’t buy for everyone but only for the name they have chosen. You can try many free online gift exchange generators. One of my favorites is Boogspace. You can also simply draw names from a hat or basket for a low-tech option.
Also take into account any additional money you will spend on things like hosting or attending holiday parties. Setting a budget will help keep you from going overboard on spending and may even help you save money.
Out with the Old, In with the New
The holiday season is a great time to declutter and make room for new items you may be receiving. Clean out closets, bedrooms, and other areas throughout your house. Divide unwanted items into four piles or boxes labeled sell, recycle, throw away, and donate. Use eBay, Craigslist, a consignment shop, or your newspaper classifieds to sell items for some extra holiday money. Donate items to Goodwill, Salvation Army, or other charitable thrift store organizations. Throw away or recycle any broken or damaged items.
Walk (or Run) in a Winter Wonderland
Chestnuts roasting by the open fire, cookies, eggnog, and other holiday indulgences can zap our energy and leave us feeling even more stressed. A great way to avoid extra stress—not to mention extra pounds—is to get moving. Find a form of exercise that you enjoy and schedule time for it during the holiday season. Are you a runner or walker? Pledge to make time for a mile a day during the holidays. If you do more than a mile, that’s great. Each day you will have a mission to move more and combat extra calories. You can also plan activities that involve exercise such as ice-skating, skiing, sledding, or playing in the snow (if you have snow in your part of the world).
Give Yourself a Gift
When you are constantly giving during the holiday season it can be easy to forget about yourself. Give yourself a gift by making time for yourself. You do not have to spend money to make time for self-care. Watch your favorite movie, read a book, listen to some of your favorite holiday tunes, or even take a nap. You will feel reenergized and refreshed when you take good care of yourself. Check out my previous post, “10 Ways to Rest, Relax, and Rejuvenate this Summer” for more ideas.
How do you manage stress during the holiday season? What tips would you share to make this time of year more wonderful and less stressful?