The holidays can bring a lot of fun and joy, but unfortunately, they can also bring a lot of stress. These are some tips for a stress-free Christmas so all truly can be calm and bright.
1. Plan ahead
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Benjamin Franklin
The best way to stay ahead of the craziness and reduce stress is definitely to plan ahead. Having a plan for what may happen will help things run more smoothly. Best case scenario, things go according to plan. Worst case scenario, they don’t and you switch gears to plans B or C. Either way, you’re prepared!
2. Stay on budget
Between Black Friday deals and this season’s hottest toys, budgets can be blown faster than you can say, “Merry Christmas!” A little less merry, however, is January when the credit card bills arrive. Staying on budget can greatly reduce stress now and in the future. You’ll know exactly what you can and can’t afford and won’t have to pay for it for months to come.
3. Don’t overcommit
Do you know that in Latin, December means “too many obligations?” Okay, so that’s actually a Jim Gaffigan joke from his twitter feed and not actual trivia, but it totally could be. December is the month of way too much to do.
You’d think cold weather (in our area, at least) would encourage people to stay home more, but come hell or high water it seems we’re all going to every recital, holiday display, mall, and relative’s house within a 300 mile radius. It’s just the way it is. The holidays are crazy.
While a lot of these activities (and sometimes obligations) can be a lot of fun, it’s easy to end up with a jam packed calendar and no clue about how it’s all actually going to happen. This month, we need to give ourselves permission to say no to some things. Saying no is a great skill to have all year round, but it’s especially crucial when our time becomes such a scarce resource. If you can’t volunteer for your son’s class party or make to your great aunt’s house for her Christmas party, it’s okay. We can’t be everywhere all the time, and trying to do so will only cause us to be stressed out and miserable.
Think of saying no as a Christmas gift to yourself. It’s the gift of respecting and knowing yourself well enough to know what you can or can’t do, and respecting others enough to be upfront with them about it. Most people will completely understand, and those who don’t will just confirm that you’d made the right choice in avoiding them.
4. Remember what’s important
This will be different for everyone, but remembering what’s important to you will help you prioritze everything: how you spend your money, time, and energy. Keeping your priorities in mind helps to weed out the non-essential stuff that clutters up our lives and tends to lead to more stress.
What’s your biggest tip for reducing stress around the holidays?