Does the thought of the upcoming holidays have you in a panic? From cleaning the house to preparing food to getting presents for your family, there is a lot to think about doing this time of year. Before you overwhelm yourself with tasks and pressure, check out these holiday stress management tips from Perspectives Counseling Centers.
Plan and Prepare as Early as Possible
Stress quickly goes away when you have a plan in place. You may still feel nervous about achieving the plan, but at least you know what to do when the time comes. Start planning for the holidays as early as possible. This includes buying stocking stuffers for your kids, gathering food items that will not spoil, choosing recipes to cook, and doing some of the deep cleaning tasks that you might have been putting off. Create an itinerary for the big holiday so you have a step-by-step to-do list for cooking, presents, and other activities. Then all you have to do is follow it.
Note that having an itinerary also gives you a chance to add to your list when you realize you’ve missed something. You can think about the day from every possible angle and feel well prepared for the celebration.
Don’t Stretch Yourself Too Thin
This applies to all forms of commitment. For instance, you and your spouse may have multiple Thanksgiving dinners to go to between your two families. Rather than trying to cram all the celebrations and to one day, you may be better off spending Thanksgiving with one side of the family and Christmas with the other side of the family. You could also ask one side of the family to celebrate the day before or after Thanksgiving, and then you would be able to spend several hours with each family stress-free.
If you are hosting for the holiday, be realistic about how much time and money you have available for food. You could provide the protein while others provide the sides and desserts. Work it out so you are not the one carrying the full burden of the holiday on your shoulder. It is perfectly reasonable to ask for help.
Keep Gifts to a Minimum
You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on every gift you give this Christmas. For children, followed the rule of something they want, something they need, something they wear, something they read. You might splurge on one big item that they want, but keep everything else on a minimal budget.
If you have a large family or a big friend celebration to go to, you may suggest having a Dirty Santa party instead of getting people individual gifts. With Dirty Santa (aka White Elephant), each person brings one gift. That’s it. You can still have a great time, but you don’t have to stress about buying multiple gifts.
Focus on Making Memories
The holidays don’t have to be perfect. They’re about making memories with your loved ones. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and don’t worry about every little detail. It will all come together in the end. Enjoy this special time of year, and focus on what matters most.