It’s the holiday season, which means it’s a time to be joyous and cheerful, right?
Actually, it’s a time that many people feel stressed, overwhelmed, and even experience seasonal depression and anxiety. From snagging that perfect holiday gift before it sells out at the store to deep-cleaning your home and preparing huge meals for family visits, this time of year can put a lot of holiday stress on your mind and body.
Maybe you are worried about money. Maybe you are worried about spending too much (or not enough) time with family. Maybe you are worried about buying and giving gifts. Whatever the reason may be for your holiday stress, this is the time of year to make time for “me time.”
Think about the events or things that trigger holiday stress for you this time of year. Then, focus on a few things you can do to help reduce that stress.
Here are some ideas for managing holiday stress:
Financial stress and gift-giving are two of the most common reasons for excessive holiday stress. However, there are ways to help prevent this. Set a spending limit for not only buying gifts for loved ones, but also a limit for things like travel and groceries for holiday meals.
Keep a close eye on your spending and track it in a journal. It’s okay to tell your children that certain toys are out of your spending limit. Don’t spend so much money on gifts and travel that you have to work overtime for the next year just to pay them off.
One smart shopping tip is to price match for the best deals; most big-box retailers will match the price of their competitors. You can also choose to shop small this year. Many small businesses offer special discounts or free shipping deals as a thank you for supporting their business.
You can also purchase gift cards for stores then use only those gift cards to purchase your gifts. This is an excellent way to maintain a strict budget without worrying about accidentally over-spending or losing track of how much you spent.
From Secret Santa gift exchanges and planning or attending multiple holiday parties to volunteering at charity events or attending school fundraisers, there are seemingly an unlimited number of holiday events that you might feel obligated to participate in.
To avoid holiday stress, it’s important that you know your own limits and learn to say no. Do not overbook yourself or spread yourself too thin by trying to do it all. Pick and choose the events that mean the most to you or that will require the least amount of holiday stress to attend or plan; then kindly and apologetically turn down the other events.
While there are some tasks you cannot delegate to someone else, you might find there are several that others can help you with. Make a personal to-do list for yourself. Share that list with friends and family and see which tasks you can share or delegate. For example, your family can help you decorate the house for the holidays, prepare holiday meals, wrap gifts, and tidy up the house. Meanwhile, your friends can help you with volunteer events and party planning.
Don’t feel like you need to do everything on your own. Ask for help when you can, and you might be surprised that your loved ones are more than willing to lend a helping hand.
Worried about your holiday budget? Not sure if the shipping delays will get your gift orders here in time? Don’t let the stress of “finding that perfect” gift get you down. A heartfelt, handmade, or personalized gift can go a long way. You can still show love with gifts that don’t cost a lot and that you can make with supplies right from your home.
Write a meaningful poem and frame it for your mom. Grab some ingredients from your pantry and make a scented sugar scrub for your best friend. Handmake your annual Christmas cards instead of painstakingly taking family photos and over-paying an app to make the cards. Get a canvas and paint a fun or inspirational quote for your Secret Santa gift exchange. The options are endless for inexpensive yet heartwarming gifts.
Need some more ideas? Check out this fun article for 33 DIY gift ideas.
There is such a thing as too much family time. With activity after activity, it’s easy to forget about your own needs and feelings. Take frequent breaks from group or family activities and spend some time by yourself if you can. You can try relaxing breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, taking a short walk, or even sneaking away for a pedicure or trip to your spa.
Looking for some meditation ideas? Check out our blog, Meditation for a More Positive Mind and Life.
The holidays can be a rough time for numerous reasons. The loss of a loved one, a recent breakup or divorce, gift-giving stress, financial burdens, and family obligations are just some of the reasons why you might feel anxious.
The holidays can also sometimes trigger depression. You may feel embarrassed to ask for help or think that these feelings will pass in January, but most people need treatment or help to feel better. Make sure you talk with your doctor to obtain a diagnosis and counseling and medicine to help you feel more like yourself and ready to tackle this busy season of life.
Want a checklist of smart shopping tips to help you find the perfect gifts for your loved ones while maintaining a budget? Download our free checklist below!