As the holiday season approaches, many of us experience higher stress levels. In addition to your typical schedule of work, home and kids, you've got more shopping to do, menus to plan, presents to buy and food to prepare.
The good news is, even with all the extra activities and preparations, you CAN reduce your holiday stress.
Even if Christmas isn’t your bag, there is still a certain amount of pressure that most of us will feel and this is why I have put together some strategies to help decrease your stress.
Some of these may even be so effective that you'll choose to use them all year long!
1. Acknowledge that everything doesn't need to be perfect. The adverts and films on television during the holidays really miss the mark when it comes to realistic portrayals of family holidays. spilled
Accept that you can enjoy some beautiful holiday get-togethers regardless of whether something is overcooked, spilt or whether you have matching crockery.
2. Scale down your holiday plans. Sometimes we have an overly idealistic view of the holidays that springs from our childhood experiences. Scaling down your plans involves letting go of your "perfect dream" for the holidays.
Essentially, know that you don't have to repeat those special holiday memories you have in your mind. You don't have to find the perfect gift, spend the most money or have a room stacked with presents to show your love to others.
Set a cap on how much you and your family will spend on presents. This can make gift buying even more creative and meaningful.
Prescribe to the theory that, "It's the thought that counts." Most people will never remember the present you got for them that one year, but they will remember the memories of the quality time you spent together as a family.
3. Take shortcuts to save time. Figure out easier ways to do things that will provide more time for other holiday tasks and activities.
One good example: Rather than baking the pies, order them from somewhere that is known for their delicious baked goods.
Start holiday planning and preparations earlier. Spreading holiday tasks out over longer periods of time means you'll have less stress during the holiday season. Can you imagine how much less stressed you'd feel if you had all your gift shopping and wrapping done in October?
Plan your holiday menus well in advance. Start looking at recipes and writing lists. This way, you'll have the menu set and the shopping lists made. As the holidays get closer, review them and make any minor adjustments you want.
When shopping, don't be afraid to select gift cards as presents. The fact is that many people prefer receiving a gift card as they can then choose exactly what they want. I know I do 😊 Gift cards are easy to shop for, satisfy nearly everyone and will cost you less in wrapping paper. Basically, gift cards are "no fuss less stress”
3. Choose what you want to do. Avoid getting caught up in the commercialism that has taken over the entire holiday season. Ponder what the holidays truly mean to you and then express that meaning in how you celebrate. By deciding what you want the holiday season to mean to you and your family first and foremost you can significantly reduce your holiday stress.
Some would say "it's all about the presents." However, it's worth your time to think about what ideas you hope to portray to your friends and loved ones during the holidays.
Let go of feeling pressure to carry out elaborate and lavish celebrations. Maybe you'd rather have smaller, more intimate gatherings with friends spread out over a month or two, rather than a big gathering that makes it difficult to really connect with others.
If you have children, the best way to teach them that the holidays are about giving to others, is to take them to visit local charities, donate to food banks or even to serve meals at a soup kitchen.
Please remember to ditch the urge to be perfect. Scale down expectations and use your energy to think about what the holidays really mean to you. Plan earlier and use short cuts to save time.
Once you have decided what you want the holidays to mean to you and your family you can let go of expectations based on the past and really enjoy your time together because ultimately, isn't that what the holidays are for?
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