The holidays are here! For some, that gives warm and fuzzy thoughts of a fat man in a red suit and delicious family dinners. For others, it instills feelings of stress and panic. Pair this with the already colder weather and shorter days and this can be a recipe for disaster. Some studies have suggested holiday stress and overindulgence help explain the soaring rate of fatal heart attacks in December and January. Use some of the following tips to stay happy, healthy and energized this holiday season.
Get Perspective One of the first things you can do to lower your stress is to lower your expectations. It is okay not to have the Pinterest-worthy table setting and the Facebook ready family picture. If you can learn to expect some irritations and that some things are just not going to go perfectly, you will dramatically lower your stress levels. It is important to think about the reasons why we celebrate this time of year and keep it authentic, relax and have a good time.
Keep it Simple Most people can feel pressure to overspend during the holidays. Whether it is gifts for friends and family, ingredients for elaborate dinners, or new clothes for every function, the totals can add up quickly and the damage of overextending can last well beyond the celebration. More and more people are changing their focus from “bigger is better” and looking for the joy from a creative or unique gift. It doesn’t have to be expensive to have an impact. You can think outside the box and show what the relationship means to you. Most importantly set a budget and stick to it.
You Can’t Do It All There are so many things packed into a short amount of time. It is important to understand that you cannot do it all. The parade will happen again next year. You cannot attend five different dinners. You do not have to see every light display in town. Pick a few events that are special to you and your family and do those. Pick one or two new ones each year to keep it interesting. Remember quality, not quantity.
Make It Easy With all of the technology today you have to start considering doing a majority of your shopping online. Do it early in the season and you don’t even have to change out of your PJs. Another good tip is that if you find an item you like, buy it in multiple colors and give it to several people on your list that will never talk to each other like a coworker and your child’s teacher. If you have the time available at work thing about taking a day off early in December to get all your shopping done. You will avoid all of the crazy weekend rushes and the shelves will still be well stocked.
Our Favorite Tip Extend your holiday calendar. No one ever said it all had to happen in a specific amount of time. Think about hosting a get together with your family or friends after the traditional holiday season. Give yourself some time to relax and other’s schedules won’t be so packed, think mid/late January. You can all wear your new gear and you could have a gift exchange of items you didn’t like or won’t use.
These are just a few ways that you can be intentional with your time this season, reduce stress and take the time to enjoy family and friends. Don’t let the deadlines, obligations, and crazy distract you from what really matters.