The month of December is hectic, to say the least, with holiday parties filling your social calendar and high workloads. With just a week until Christmas, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything that is on your to-do list. We all know Christmas can be a stressful time, with high expectations and obligations. Presents need to be bought, decorations need to be put up, relatives are coming to town, and much cooking and baking needs to be done. For a holiday that is supposed to be about family and joy, it is possible for you to miss out on the good due to the high stress that comes with. This year more than ever, it is so important to look back and appreciate your health, family and friends. To ensure that you do not miss out on the joy that comes with Christmas, we created 10 steps you can take to manage your stress this season so you too can savor and enjoy this holiday!
1. Lessen your load. You have less than a week before all the relatives come over to your house and the house is not in the tip-top shape you are hoping it to be. No sweat! If you are feeling as though you do not have enough time to get everything done before Christmas, it is okay to lessen your load. Stop, think and decide what can you do to make your life a little easier. Remember, it is okay to say no. Whether it’s a party invite or a request from your child’s teacher to whip up a few dozen cookies for the school holiday bash, you can say no if you simply do not have enough time, thank them for the opportunity but remember you do not always have to say yes!
2. Make the most of out this holiday. Christmas is all about what you make of it. With how the economy has been, many families have cut down on the presents and extravagance that can sometimes come and that's okay! You can still celebrate your family’s traditions and focus on what really is important. If you are worried about costs this holiday, check out discount stores for games and toys, make crafts and spend part of the holiday giving back whether that be at a soup kitchen or a homeless shelter.
3. Reevaluate the gift giving. Talk with the whole family and decide on how you want to give gifts this year. One great idea is to agree to buy for the kids only and then either do a Secret Santa draw for the adults or pick names in advance. This way, everyone gets a gift but you do not have to go out and buy something for every family member. If you decide to do this, send a group email setting the price and attaching each relative’s wish list, that way you have a better idea of what to buy the individual you drew. For those of you still trying to figure out what to get a sibling or best friend, another great gift giving idea is to get creative and design a fun card and include a short explanation that instead of a gift, you are taking them out for a special dinner or show. This way, you can both collaborate and decide on something fun you both will enjoy while enjoying one another’s company instead of giving them a material object.]
4. It is okay to ask for help. If you are feeling overwhelmed with all you have to do and prepare, it is okay to ask others to help you. If you have kids old enough to drive, give them a grocery list or have them pick up the tablecloth at the dry cleaners. If you have family coming in for Christmas, ask them to run a quick errand for you or take up their offer and have them help you in the kitchen.
5. Remember the reason. After all the parties, shopping and events, remind yourself of the reason we celebrate Christmas. The holidays are a time of year to show compassion to others, help those in need and give gifts to express our appreciation for those we love.
6. Your house, your rules. If your housing the relatives and cooking the holiday feast, than the house rules are completely up to you. Ask everyone to pitch in. Whether that is bringing the wine, dessert, an extra dish or even a helping hand after the meal. Most family members will offer any assistance to lighten your load but if they don’t, then ask. Plus, kitchens are great places to joke around and have great conversations.
7. Did you forget to send Christmas cards? Don’t worry about it! The amount of people sending Christmas cards is slowly dwindling each year. If you simply didn’t get around to it but still want to send some holiday cheer, use social media to extend your holiday joy or shoot some of your closest friends a thoughtful email or hand written card.
8. Recharge. We all know that this holiday season comes with lots and lots of sugar and while it is fun to indulge, be sure not too consume too much sugar this holiday. If you overindulge in foods high in sugar and fat, your amount of energy will decrease. Instead, increase your intake of fruits and vegetables as they contain the vitamins and minerals that help reduce stress. If you get up a move by going to the gym or taking a walk, any form of movement will increase your energy. And the most important thing, make sleep a priority or you will simply not have the energy to survive or enjoy the holidays.
9. Have fun! Christmas is a stressful time for most but remember to make time for the things you truly enjoy. Do the fun things that come with the holiday, such as driving around looking at Christmas lights, taking Santa pictures, baking delicious holiday desserts and sitting by the fireplace drinking hot cocoa.
10. Relax. This season can be highly stressful, but after all the work and preparation you put into making Christmas a success, you deserve to kick back and enjoy it. Since you probably have a day or two off, enjoy every second of it, especially if you have your family to spend it with. Take this time to appreciate the good you do have in your life and the joy that your friends and family bring you. All the hard work is done so sit back, relax and enjoy this day of love and celebration.
What do you do to make it through the holidays? Let us know in the comments!