Reducing Holiday Stress


A Season for Stress?

We sing about peace, joy and goodwill, but the holidays can easily turn into long lists, fatigue and grumpy stressed-out adults.   Keep your happy holidays from becoming a Grinch-worthy experience by avoiding common mistakes and planning for a less-stress Christmas season.

  1. Set Limits for Spending Your Money and Your Time

Your budget has limits and so does your time.  Before taking the bait to buy a gift or make a commitment, take a look at what you have available in funds and time.  Over spending can create a financial burden later.  Over-committing creates a burden now.  Know your limits in dollars and hours.  Spend both resources wisely.

  1. Pace Yourself by Planning Ahead

Use a calendar or a digital planner to map out tasks leading up to the holidays.  Include big items like shopping, cleaning, travel, decorating or cooking.  Break them down into smaller steps you can accomplish in stages.  Stock up on supplies in advance and make allowances for special holiday events that will require your time.  Pace yourself.  Don’t procrastinate and push it all into a frantic last-stretch.

  1. Remember to say NO!

Your time is precious and so are the moments you share with your loved ones.  Saying “no” to extra commitments will translate to more valuable moments with your family.  It’s the season for generosity, but every time you say “yes” to one thing, you are saying “no” to another.  Choose your yeses ahead of time and politely say no to everything else.  Your “no” to an external request is a “yes” to your family and your peace of mind.

  1. Involve others to help share the load

Develop a teamwork approach to the holidays.  Split up cleaning tasks, share the menu and parcel out the shopping lists.  Involving family and friends can lighten the load and make the process more enjoyable, too.  Where you can, look for ways to get professional help for tasks you don’t want to do yourself.  You can buy cookies and order pies from our bakery.  There are even professionals to decorate your home and yard for the holidays.  Divide and conquer with less stress and effort!

  1. Separate the “I have to” tasks from the “I’d like to” tasks

Some things are unavoidable.  But some do not have to be done.  During the busy holiday season, prioritizing tasks that need to be done over those that would be nice to do is important.  Taking care of “have to” items first reduces stress.  When there is time left, choose from the “nice to do” list.  The clarity just might keep you off the “naughty” list, too.

  1. Take Mini “ME” breaks

With so many things to plan and do, it’s easy to neglect taking care of YOU!  Slow down.  Take a few moments for yourself.  Rest, meditate, get your nails done or enjoy your favorite gourmet cupcake.  It will be January before you know it, savor moments of the holiday season.  Non-stop activity will turn the holidays into a blur and leave you drained and dragging into the new year.

  1. Exercise: Manage Energy and Stress

Physical exercise helps reduce stress, increase mental clarity, boost energy and will help offset a few of those extra holiday baking calories.  Go for a walk, a bike ride or make a trip to the gym.  Whatever your preferred physical outlet, don’t skip it during the holidays.  Your body will thank you in multiple ways.

  1. Leave Perfect Behind

Some say “perfect” is the enemy of progress.  In the context of the holidays, we’ll say it’s the enemy of peaceful.  With so many details in the holiday season, setting the bar for success as high as “perfect gift” and “perfect party” and “perfect dinner” for a “perfect Christmas” are just the perfect recipe for disaster.  Perfect isn’t possible, but frustration over failure to reach impossible goals is very likely.  Let yourself off that hook.  Every detail may not be perfect, but your family will remember the laughter more than the lingonberries.

This Christmas season, exhale and enjoy the festivities with those you love.   You’ll have a better time knowing your planning, pacing and self-care have produced a more peaceful holiday.

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