Stress around this time of year is extremely common. We’re all fighting off winter colds and bugs while trying to prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We’ve got vast lists of gifts to buy, food to prepare, parties and events to attend, and family to care for. It’s a challenging time, where we face plenty of pressure to please everyone and often spend more money than we can afford to.
This year, that holiday stress is multiplied. Not only are there the usual items on our to-do lists, but many of us are also managing on a tighter budget, unable to see some members of our family, having to endure zoom parties instead of in-person events, and doing what we can to avoid contracting or spreading anything. The world is in for a very different Christmas, and unfortunately, this means that the stress levels are only likely to rise.
Unfortunately, this holiday stress doesn’t just mean that we can’t enjoy ourselves. It can also mean that our mental health takes a hit and that our immune systems aren’t able to fight off infection as well, leading to a miserable winter. Here are seven things that you can do to reduce holiday stress this year.
Take Care of Yourself
Firstly, this year more than ever, your health needs to be a priority. Rest when you need to, take a break when you feel unwell, exercise, and boost your energy levels with a healthy diet. If you are struggling with something, residential addiction treatment could help, or check in with your primary care doctor. Most of us get ill during the winter months, often when we are stressed out and run down. Take time for your health, no matter what else is going on.
Organization is often the key to a stress-free holiday period. Yes, you’ve got a lot to do, but most of it is the same as in previous years. We let ourselves get stressed out when really, we should just be more prepared. Start writing to-do lists, start your Christmas shopping early, and give yourself more time to prepare for the holiday season.
We often get stressed out because we want to do everything or buy everything. It’s only natural to want to make your friends and family happy at Christmas, but it’s important that you stick to your budget, that you only commit to things that you have time for, and that you set realistic expectations for yourself. Christmas will be great, even if you don’t attend all of the events or buy everything on everyone’s to-do list.
Avoid Debt and Credit
Financial worries are a significant cause of stress at this time of the year. Paying on credit or getting into debt can seem like a solution, but it only ever makes things worse and means that your stress lasts for far longer. By being realistic with what you can afford and sticking to your budget, you can entirely cut these money worries.
Say No More
You don’t have to do everything, see everyone, attend every party, visit every relative, or help everyone that asks for it. We’ve all got a lot on at this time of the year, and people will understand if you say no. In fact, some people will be glad that you’ve said no because you’ll be reducing their list of commitments too.
Keep Things Simple
Remember what Christmas is all about. It’s not the money or the parties. Spend time with people you love, doing simple things like watching festive films and baking mince pies. Avoid anything that causes stress, and enjoy the simpler pleasures with likeminded people. Often, it’s the simple, and cost free activities that are the most enjoyable and festive.
Have Firm Cut Offs
We’ve all looked at the piles of gifts that we’ve bought and thought, “is it enough?”. We’ve looked at our decorations and thought, “I’ll just add one more,” and we’ve thought about the Christmas food that we’ve already got at home and decided to add a few extra bits. In doing so, we cause ourselves to worry and stress, and we spend far more money than we really need to.
Set yourself limits. This could be a total budget, individual budgets, or even dates when your shopping will stop. Stick to them. Once you’ve passed that point, you are done and free to enjoy the season, knowing that you are prepared and ready.
Reducing holiday stress makes it much easier to enjoy the festivities and helps you to start the New Year on the right foot.