Tis’ the season for holiday stress.
Holidays, especially Christmas, is one of the most
stressful seasons of the year if you're not prepared for it.
Stress is caused by heightened states of anxiety, typically during the months of November and December.
This anxiety may be caused by financial instability, busy shopping malls, end of year deadlines, high workloads, depression, relationships, physical demands, or family.
How do you avoid feeling the holiday stress?
There are hundreds of things you can do but here are just a few quick ideas to get you going on the right path.
Know that the traffic will be heavy, know that the lines in stores will be long be prepared for this and don’t let it rile up those feelings of frustration, take deep breaths and relax, this and planning…lots of planning will help reduce all of the stress.
If you know of a particular experience that contributes to your holiday stress then use preventative maintenance, pre-plan and prepare way before this event to eliminate or at least decrease the stress that this gives you.
If the holiday brings on feelings of depression and loneliness be sure you get yourself actively involved with your friends and family members and events. Giving time to help others will lift your spirits and give you a sense of satisfaction and thankfulness.
- Don’t try the Do-all, Be-all approach - Don’t take on more than you can handle be realistic when placing demands on yourself, pace yourself.
- Overeating – Overeating through the holidays zaps your energy which, increases your holiday stress. Monitor what you eat and don’t binge on everything you see, its not like you’ll never have the opportunity to eat those cookies or candies in the future, don’t worry they’ll still be there.
Pick and choose the items you want that
are special holiday treats and save the rest for later.
- Christmas Cards – Don’t prepare cards until you have made a list by getting together everyone’s names and addresses.
When you sit down to prepare your cards you won’t constantly interrupt yourself to go find a zip code or street spelling etc. Keep this list so next year you will be even more organized.
- Gift wrap – Make a specific trip to purchase your wrapping paper. Purchase your wrap, bags, boxes, tissue, bows, and ribbon. What you don’t use this year will save for next.
- Shopping – To avoid the added holiday stress if you have children, plan a day where you can get a babysitter so that you can be left to tend to the shopping without the constant interruptions.
Look at your list of persons to buy for and break it down into stores. Example only: Kids/Toys-R-us. Adults/Liquor store - Bed-Bath and Beyond – book store – Wal-Mart. Make the time to go to these stores with your list. Go to one store a day or do them all at once, it depends on the person, energy levels and time that you have.
Purchase as many gifts from the list that you can. Then come home, spread things out, wrap them and keep a list of what you got who. (believe me by the end of your shopping you’ll start questioning yourself.)
Place these gifts in one gathering spot. Now, cross off everyone you finished from your list and see who’s left. Decide where to go next to finish your shopping, then wrap and Walla…done.
- Gifts – Make a list of who you are going to buy for. If you give money write down the amount that you give so next year you will remember what you gave.
- If you have large families try picking names to cut down on expenses or make agreements to just address the children, this immediately cuts the holiday stress and the adults can take pleasure in the food,
drink, and gathering of friends
Dollars and cents – Don’t let yourself over spend and place everything you purchase on a credit card this only increases your stress in anticipation of next months bills. Make it simple and special, that’s what Christmas should be about.
Gatherings – Always have some frozen appetizers, nuts or party mix and drinks on hand to pull out whenever needed so that you erase the fear of not being prepared when company drops by.
- Special moments – Always pick up a disposable camera to keep in your vehicle so that you don’t miss those special moments you’d like to capture to look back on.
- Children – Place candy canes on your tree and you will always be ready to give a child a treat when they stop to visit. Tell them they can pick out their own candy cane from the tree. To them this is like shopping, they love it.
- Dinner – When having family gatherings, ask everyone to bring something that will ensure that you have some time to enjoy also. If they are bringing appetizers or dessert ask them to bring something that may not need to be heated or kept cool. Nobody ever has enough refrigerator or oven space on these occasions and you are always rotating items in preparation.
- Make a list of what you will need for dinner, check the cupboards and be sure you have all the ingredients so you only make one trip to the grocery store.
- Keep it simple – Don’t allow your mind to go crazy with wanting to serve 100 different food items. It may be easy to buy the ingredients but remember you have to find the time to prepare the food.
- Adjust your schedule – We have spouses, significant others and their family members. We have brothers, sisters, parents, children, grandchildren, and friends. There never seems to be enough time for everyone during this busy season.
If you and your significant other want to be alone and enjoy some romantic quiet time, plan a romantic evening or gift exchange just between the two of you on Christmas Eve. Otherwise you may want to use Christmas Eve to visit some friends, or family members reducing the holiday stress of trying to do everything on Christmas day. (This also ensures
that you get to take some
well deserved relaxation time)
- Time for you – Do all that you can during the day but have a stopping time along with a pre-planed activity for relaxation. Plan to curl up in front of the television with a cup of hot tea or hot chocolate. Plan a hot bath, dinner out, time to read or spend with others.
Slow down enough to enjoy the moments and what is truly important.
Don’t try to eliminate your stress by negativity. “Christmas is too materialistic”!! “Christmas is nothing but spending money buying food and drink for others enjoyment”!! “Christmas is nothing but crowds and traffic and aggravation”!! Negative statements will highly increase your stress level as your thoughts convince you that you loath this time of year.
Smile and your feelings will follow your lead. How many more holidays will you be able to spend with your loved ones. Nobody knows, so relax, look around you and absorb the pleasures of your life.
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