Beating Holiday Stress
While the holiday season is undoubtedly an exciting time to get together with friends and family, it can also be very stressful for many people. The demands of finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list, throwing and attending parties every weekend in December, and hosting holiday guests or preparing for some holiday travel of your own is enough to turn even the most festive of revelers into an Ebenezer Scrooge.
One suggestion for beating this holiday stress is to do as much as you can ahead of time. While it may feel strange stocking up on Christmas presents in July, doing so may help curb your holiday anxiety down the road. Plus, having those gifts wrapped and stowed away will give you a sense of accomplishment that may help motivate you to get a head start on other aspects of holiday preparation.
There is also so much to remember during this season, so use downtime to make lists that will keep you organized. You can write out who you want to send holiday cards to while standing in line at the bank or draft your holiday menu while you are waiting to get your hair cut. Staying on budget is also a priority for most folks, so use any spare moments you have to double-check receipts to make sure you are staying on track with your spending. Some budget experts even recommend saving for the holiday season throughout the year by setting aside a little bit of money each month to pay for the gifts, travel, and decorations that are a part of most people’s holiday celebrations.
If you are planning to travel for the holidays, be prepared to wait. Whether it is delayed flights in the airport or traffic jams on the highway, the frustrations of holiday travel can seem endless. However, if you go into it knowing it will take longer than usual, it can help you relax en route. Consider booking your flights a day in advance of when you actually want to arrive to accommodate for unexpected delays. You can do the same if you are driving, and then break up the trip by stopping at various destinations along the way to make the trip feel more like an adventure. If you are traveling with children, remember to pack lots of games and toys to serve as a distraction when it takes three times longer to pull into Grandma’s driveway.
Finally, try not to lose sight of what is really important during this holiday season. While holiday celebrations can feel more stressful than fun at times, remember that this season only comes around once a year, so enjoy as much of it as you can.