It happens to the best of us. Every year 80% of parents expect stress to be a regular part of their holiday season, and with all the gift buying, card sending, decorating and get-togethers it’s no wonder everyone is stressing out. The holidays should be a time to enjoy with the people you love! A few practical tips can help beat the stress and make your jolly holiday a reality. Here’s our TOP 10 TIPS FOR A STRESS-FREE HOLIDAY SEASON:
10. Try to notice when you start getting stressed
If you can recognize the signs of stress you’ll have a better chance of nipping them in the bud. Some signs to look out for include irritability, lingering exhaustion, headaches, upset stomach and insomnia. If you’re not feeling like your usual self and find you’re battling the wintertime blues instead, it’s time to make some simple changes to bring back that holiday cheer. Try to pinpoint what it is that’s causing you to stress out. If crowded malls make you grind your teeth, maybe it’s time to try shopping online.
9. Make a budget and actually stick with it
Money worries are definitely one of the biggest stressors at this time of year. A thoughtful budget and some stick-to-itivness go a long way to alleviate the stress on your wallet and your mind. With budgets, it’s always best to START EARLY! If you haven’t started planning your holiday budget yet, do it now! If you have a record of what you spent last year, that’s the easiest place to start. If not, make sure you save your receipts this year. We think it works best to have 2 budgets: 1 for gifts, and 1 for decorations/events/etc. Create a list of all the people you will buy gifts for and assign them each a spending limit. If you’re finding it too difficult to fit them all within your budget, consider trimming down the list or getting creative with your gifts.
8. Make a list and schedule when you will accomplish your tasks
We like lists! We even make lists of all the other lists we need to make. They’re great for keeping life organized, and crossing things off is incredibly satisfying. With so much to do this time of year, plan ahead for the time you will shop for gifts, the time you will bake, the time you will decorate, the time you will wrap.
7. Get plenty of sleep
Make a bedtime for yourself! We do so well with getting the kids to bed on time, but what about us? Consistently getting a good night’s sleep is a great way to keep your energy up and avoid stress, but when you’re already stressed out, falling asleep can become pretty difficult. Avoid distractions like TV and your phone late at night, and make sure your bedroom is nice and dark. If all else fails, try some simple meditation or controlled breathing.
6. Eat well
It’s no secret that most people tend to overeat during the holidays. There are fantastic family meals, a huge assortment of candies and chocolates, specialty drinks and munchies everywhere you turn! Food, at times, can feel like the perfect solution to your stress, but in reality it may actually make things worse. It can disrupt your sleep, make you feel exhausted and, of course, add on some extra pounds. If you’re already stressed, or anticipating a large meal later, it can be tempting to skip meals entirely, but this can be just as bad for you! Undereating will just deprive your body of the nutrition it needs to keep going. Try to maintain your usual eating habits during the holidays and you’ll be much happier.