Wednesday, November 30, 2011

5 Tips for a Stress Free Holiday Season

Here are 5 tips for (hopefully) having a stress free holiday season (remind me to follow them as well!):

1. Perhaps the most common piece of advice out there in terms of reducing stress during the holidays is to create and stick to a budget when shopping.  It’s so easy to overspend when we’re buying gifts for the people we love but if you create a budget you can keep an eye on store flyers and sales and still buy that special someone the perfect gift, without going into debt.

2. Plan ahead!  This goes for everything holiday.  Try and get at least a few presents purchased before the holiday season even begins.  If you have a quiet week night in November, do some holiday baking.  If you have holiday parties to attend, find out in advance what is required of you (Pot luck? Gift exchange?) and take care of as many details as you can well before the date.

3. Learn to say no!  The holidays are busy for everyone and undoubtedly you will be called upon to pitch in at a holiday party, your children’s school, or a charity event.  The season is all about giving to others but remember that you are no good to anyone if you are chronically stressed and unorganized because you have too much on your plate.  People will understand if you have to say no and this way you can give 100% to those yes requests.

4. Check in with other family members during the season to ensure your little ones are not about to have a meltdown capable of taking out the North pole just before getting to grandma’s house.  Kids show stress in different ways – are they over tired, weepy or grouchy?  Check in and share your understanding of how the holiday season can be overwhelming for everyone.  Offer extra hugs, and perhaps an earlier bedtime to make up for the excitement to come once Christmas is here.

5. Take care of yourself.  Don’t abandon healthy habits just because it’s the holidays.  Eat healthy (but enjoy your favorite treats in moderation, hooray for holiday food!), get enough rest, and take a breather when you feel your stress barometer begin to rise.  Healthy habits will work to help avoid getting sick during the holidays, which is no fun for anyone.

We all get stressed over the holidays, but hopefully the celebration, excitement and togetherness that the holiday season brings outweigh those times when we’re feeling the holiday stress creep up.

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