It’s the most wonderful time of year!
As I get older, it seems like the time from Halloween to New Years speeds by faster and faster. I can barely keep up and just the thought of it can send a shiver of panic through me. Don’t get me wrong. I love the family time, the Christmas music, and the delicious flavors of the season. I just know that I need to prepare myself for the inevitable stress that will come along with it.
So I developed my own strategy to manage stress during the Holiday season.
1. Plan, Plan, Plan
I know what you are thinking: of course I’m going to say this. I’m a planner girl. However, this is definitely the number one way I manage stress around the holidays and it’s a good tool for you, even if you don’t normally plan ahead. If you have a lot of parties to attend or maybe you are hosting a few of your own, then you will definitely need to start planning those out. Otherwise, you may find yourself overbooked and that will lead to MAJOR stress.
2. Budget for Christmas Gifts
One of the main things that causes stress this time of year is money. Unless you are the type to start Christmas shopping in July (I wish I was that prepared), then chances are you will find yourself overwhelmed with your list of people to buy for. The best way to combat this problem is to make a list (and check it twice!) of all of the people you have to buy for. Determine what you are capable of spending on each person and write that number next to their name. If you have already been saving for Christmas shopping, then you are ahead of the game, but if you are not ready to buy every single gift right now, just break it into four sections. Spread those four sections over the next four weeks, so that your bank account doesn't take a big hit all at once.
3. Shop Online
Whether you are looking for gifts or you are planning your holiday feast, take advantage of online shopping. Stores are more crowded this time of year and the mad rush to get everything done has put everyone on edge. So much for the Christmas Spirit, right?! Why put yourself through that when you can utilize Kroger or Wal-Mart's grocery pick-up option? As far as Christmas gifts go, Amazon is your best friend. Nothing beats that two day, prime shipping!
4. Don't Neglect Yourself
Between holiday parties, Christmas shopping, and cooking large meals, it can be easy to forget about your own needs. It's important to stop and take some time to smell the roses. If you find yourself getting stressed out, just give yourself some personal time. Take a hot bath, go get a mani/pedi, or just sit and read a good book. Small things like that can really go a long way when it comes to managing your stress level around the holidays. Do yourself and everyone around you a favor and don't forget to breathe!
5. Take it All in
Have you ever woken up on January 2nd and wondered what happened over the last two months? I know I have had that feeling. It's something like a holiday hangover. You know that Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve happened. You just aren't sure what you did. It all went so fast and you were so busy the entire time that you forgot to actually enjoy it. My last bit of advice is to remember to take it all in. The Christmas music, the beautiful lights and decorations, and the precious family time. Try to find those little moments that make the hustle and bustle all worth it.
Those are my tips for managing stress during the holiday season. What are some techniques you have for keeping your cool, this time of year? Let me know!
Until next time!