The holidays are nearly here, and for anyone with kids or family, this can potentially be the most stressful time of the year. You’ve got parties to plan, gifts to buy and budgets to handle, just to name a few. If you’re already stressed out about the holidays, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve tested out a few tips and tricks to help you beat the holiday stress and really enjoy the season with your family.
1. Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard
It can be terribly tempting to overcommit and try to do everything at once during the holidays. This is especially true if you don’t delegate well or you don’t have anyone you trust to help you with the holiday preparations.
Don’t push yourself too hard. The holidays don’t have to be a nightmare of preparation and running around like a headless chicken. Feel free to say no to holiday parties, social obligations or anything else you feel is too stressful or simply too much for you to handle.
You don’t need to feel bad about saying no. Not only can it be incredibly liberating, but it also allows you to step back and take care of yourself rather than worrying about the needs of others.
2. Make Your List, Check It Twice
Shopping might be the most stressful part of the holidays. Did you get the right gifts for everyone? Did you forget someone? Should you pick up a few extra generic gifts in case one of your party attendees brings a plus one?
Stop right there.
Take the time to make a list of all the people you’re going to shop for, and set up a budget to go along with that list. Stick to both of these things closely — it will keep you from going into debt for the holidays and make shopping less stressful. Plus, if you’ve got a good plan, you can get your shopping done early and not have to worry about braving the stores at the last minute to pick up something you forgot.
3. Take Care of Yourself
Holiday stress doesn’t just manifest as mental symptoms — it can have physical repercussions too, which make it harder to enjoy the holiday season. Feeling fatigue, enduring headaches and even grinding your teeth can all be signs of excessive stress. Studies have found that anywhere from 50 to 96 percent of adults grind their teeth at some point, and the number gets higher during stressful situations like the holidays.
Take the time to take care of yourself during the holidays. Schedule a spa day, take a hot bubble bath or just find 10 minutes to meditate — whatever works to help you relax. You’ll be able to approach your tasks refreshed and without the stress you were carrying around before.
4. Focus on What Is Important
What are the most important things for you during this holiday season? For most people, that short list probably includes things like vacations, time spent with family and maybe even giving gifts. Figure out what is most important to you and focus on that — anything that doesn’t make the list gets lower priority. Assigning priority to these things helps you sort out the things that are most important. Work parties would be lower down on the list than a child’s Christmas pageant, for example.
Again, don’t be afraid to say no. The holiday is about family. Everything else is just icing on the cake.
5. Pare Down Your Friends List
The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and celebration — so what do you do if you have a Grinch in your life that keeps dragging you down? We’ve all encountered toxic people at one time or another in our lives, the kind of person that carries negativity around with them like a demented umbrella and uses it to pull other people down, too.
The holidays are a great time to pare down your friends list and cut off ties with those toxic individuals once and for all.
6. Be Grateful
The holidays are a time when you’re expected to say thank you a lot. You thank people for giving you gifts, for showing up to your party or for remembering to bring plates. Have you ever really stopped to think about the concept of gratitude?
Strive to be grateful in every aspect of your life — especially during the holidays. Be grateful for everything — the bed you wake up in, the air in your lungs, the sun shining overhead and everything in between.
7. Ask for Help
Don’t try to do everything yourself, no matter how self-sufficient you are during the holidays. If you start getting overwhelmed or stressed out, step back and ask for help. You don’t need to shoulder everything, even if it might seem that way.
Make sure, though, that the person or people you’re asking for help aren’t going to add to your stress. You really don’t need help from someone who is going to need micromanagement or is just going to make your life difficult. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but don’t make your job harder than it needs to be.
8. Don’t Stress if Something Goes Awry
Did you burn the pie or set the Christmas tree on fire? Don’t stress! Take a step back, take a deep breath, shrug off the mistakes and go on with your holiday preparations. When it comes down it to it, there are two words you need to live buy during the holidays: S*** happens. Things will happen that are completely out of your control. Don’t panic over them, and don’t let them ruin your holiday. Just shrug it off and continue to enjoy the festivities with your family.
Stress and the holidays seem to go hand in hand, but they don’t have to. Just follow these simple steps to help keep your stress levels low and your holiday enjoyment high during the coming weeks.