The holiday season should be the most joyous time of the year. In reality, for many, it's a time of over-scheduling, overeating, overspending, and overdoing.
Before you get your tinsel in a tangle, we are here to help. Read on to learn how to minimize stress before, during, and after this holiday season. If anything, 2020 has given us the gift of slowing down. Here's to a joyful, relaxing, and balanced holiday!
Before you get your tinsel in a tangle, we are here to help. Read on to learn how to minimize stress before, during, and after this holiday season. If 2020 has given us anything, it's the gift of slowing down. Here's to a joyful, relaxing and balanced holiday!
1. Set Realistic Expectations - There is no such thing as a perfect...anything. Putting this kind of pressure on a holiday is unrealistic. Avoid frustration & disappointment by letting go of perfection from the start. Focus on filling the holidays with meaningful & relaxing traditions that honor personal, religious and cultural priorities instead.
2. Access 2019 - What do you regret from last year? Think about holiday seasons of the past, what you liked or didn't like and apply this information to your holiday plan for the this year. Use your experience to your advantage.
3. Simplify - Review traditions, family gatherings, and "normal" holiday to-do's now and cut out whatever will NOT bring you holiday cheer. The things that are left, simplify and delegate. You don't have to make that 5-course meal all by yourself. Elf on The Shelf might be quarantined this year. You get to decide!
4. Set a Holiday Budget - One of the biggest holiday stressors is money. Gifts, parties, decorations, meals, it can really add up. The good news is we know the holidays are the same time every year. It's not a surprise! If you don't already, start a holiday budget in January (take the amount you want to spend and divide it by 12, save that amount each month). If you're panicking, it's not too late! Here's a basic breakdown of what you need to save from this point on to avoid debt for gifts:
$1000 = $84 a month
$750 = $63 a month
$500 = $42 a month
$250 = $21 a month
**Pro Tip: Save your holiday funds in an online high-interest savings account and you could have a bit more saved for the holidays than your target amount... a little extra to reward yourself for the discipline. This also helps keep the funds out of reach throughout the year to avoid temptation.
5. Plan Ahead - Have a gift-giving plan in place to avoid the holiday crowds, bad weather, and impulse buys. This simple step also gives you your precious holiday time! Start shopping or making gifts early!
1. Take Time For Yourself - During the holiday season is can be easy to get caught up in the obligations. Set aside time to do things just for you, because you want to. Schedule yourself a massage, order in takeout and rent a movie, or read a book. These things will rebalance the frantic energy and keep you centered and calm to enjoy the holiday activities you do chose.
2. Be Ready To Pivot - It's ok to change your mind. If things start to feel hectic & overwhelming, give yourself permission to put up fewer decorations or turn down an invitation. Plan intentional stress-free activities, like ordering takeout and doing something from your normal routine. Never feel obligated to attend something at the expense of your mental health.
3. Limit Your Commitments - The holidays are filled with so many invitations. We'll see how this pans out this year, but work, school, family, friends, church, all have multiple holiday events. Just because you were invited, does not mean you have to attend. Go to the things that mean the most to you and skip the rest. Everyone knows this is a hectic time of year. You can politely decline. They don't need to know you may be relaxing at home on the couch.
4. Take Care of Yourself - The holidays are a time of indulgence. It's easy to let that be the excuse for every bad decision made. It's ok to eat the cake, drink the eggnog and stay up late watching Christmas Vacation. But, finding time to take care of yourself during the holidays will greatly reduce the amount of stress felt during this time.
- Get as much sunlight at possible to increase vitamin D and decrease depression
- Get plenty of exercise to boost mind and body
- Release tension and clear the mind by going for a walk or listening to music
- Get plenty of sleep to have the energy for the activities that are a priority
5. Create New Traditions - If your current traditions are no longer meaningful or are causing you pain, switch it up. Sometimes we feel an obligation to adopt family, religious or cultural traditions. Be mindful of what is healthy for you and have fun making new traditions.
1. Recover - You did it! You survived AND thrived this year! Give yourself a pat on the back and allow your mind and body to recover from the holiday season. Rest and self love is key. You earned it!
2. Reflect - How did it go? What did you learn? Think about the positive and negative and really reflect on what you would change and what you want to repeat next year.
3. Remember - Take notes so you remember for next year. Your plan will be easier to make with notes from a fresh mind. "The shortest pencil is better than the best memory."
4. Reset - Set the tone for the new year by focusing on moving forward into the next season. Don't dwell or live in the past.
5. Reward - You did it! Reward yourself for getting through the holidays with the most self love and respect for yourself possible! The stress you spared yourself from experiencing was a holiday gift in itself, but might we recommend something from Liam & Company
Wishing you the best for a joy-filled and stress-free holiday season! ❄️
Sources: Franciscan Health, wellandwealthy.org