Whether it's the pressure of creating the perfect dinner or buying a special gift, there's a lot that contributes to holiday stress. Everything and everyone is coming at you at once. And there's a looming deadline to get it all done.
But there are ways to make it through the season with your sanity still intact. Use these techniques to help you sit back and enjoy the festivities without becoming a total stress-ball.
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1. Plan Mini Budgets
Start ahead of the holiday bustle and plan how much money you are going to spend. Then, break it down into mini budgets so it won't be so overwhelming. To do this, make a list of who you need to buy gifts for and determine how much to spend for each person. This not only keeps you from overspending but helps with figuring out who should be on the gift list.
2. Go With Proven Recipes
There's enough going on without you experimenting with the meal. Be it Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner, there's no point in adding additional stress by trying to make a new dish from scratch. Your family and friends will love those tried-and-true recipes, and you'll be able to focus on the fun instead of panicking in the kitchen.
3. Give Holiday Hugs
The holiday season is a time of sharing love and fellowship with the people you care about. So take the time to hug friends and family. It can be as simple as a squeeze of the hand or a big bear hug. But nothing will de-stress you more than human contact.
Even if your friend or loved one isn't around for the holidays, a virtual hug goes a long way. Set up a Zoom call and let the whole family get in on the virtual hug.
Consider this: Why We Love Giving More than Getting
4. Set Limits With the Word No
Kwanzaa and Chanukah both last roughly one week. That's a lot of time to feel stressed. And even though Thanksgiving and Christmas are only one day, it can feel like the preparation takes forever. You're probably being pulled in many different directions at once. Finding the time to do it all is stressful.
There's more time involved with these celebrations than just preparation. Invitations to parties, buying something for the office gift exchange and taking the kids to see Santa all take time. It seems everyone wants you to do something for them or with them. The result is a hefty dose of stress.
At this time of year, limits need to be set. There's a simple word that sets limits. That word is "no." Use it. Don't feel obligated to go to every function. A courteous thank you, but no, is not going to offend. If you don't have time to bake cookies for your child's homeroom, apologize and say you can't. No excuses are needed. Just a simple, polite "no" will suffice.
Don't stress about not being able to do everything for everyone. Instead, pick and choose what you can do and politely turn the other requests or offers down.
5. Have Someone Else Assemble
The three magical words for most parents is "no assembly required." But if those words don't come on the box of that perfect gift for your child, don't stress. If possible, have the store you bought it from assemble it. Their employees know how to do it quickly and correctly. It's worth eliminating some holiday stress by paying the store to put it together.
De-Stressing the Holidays
Start the New Year stress-free by enjoying your holiday season. Enjoy family and friends and forget about wowing them with that new recipe. It's not worth the stress. Also, de-stress by remembering that time is valuable, and you're allowed to say no to activities or tasks that would stretch you too thin. Finally, if you do a little planning and remember to give a little hug, you can have a less stressful holiday season.