December brings lights, holiday music, presents, and often a plethora of activities to fill your days and nights. Unfortunately, the holidays can also bring along a slew of stressors if you aren’t careful. Here are six tips on how to reduce holiday stress so you can enjoy the season in the manner it was intended.
1. Declutter Early
Before jumping into the season, engage in a major decluttering session. Seasonal decorations can make a cluttered space even more stifling and add to your holiday stress. Make way for holiday decor so it can be featured prominently and add to the ambiance, not make it claustrophobic. The holidays also mean new items will often enter your home, whether they are gifts you receive or gifts you will be giving. Remove the old to make way for the new. Not to mention, it is easy to lose track of gifts you have already purchased if hidden in a cluttered space, which can result in unnecessary spending.
2. Minimize Your Commitments
The holidays are often filled with fun events, and it can be easy to attempt to make them all work. However, when you fill every waking minute, you can become overwhelmed and exhausted, making the season seem more like a chore rather than a celebration. When you receive an invitation, take a moment before you RSVP to consider whether it will add seasonal joy, or holiday stress.
Let go of obligatory yes’s and instead focus on events that will fill your spirit. Is the activity something you enjoy? Are the people involved those with whom you truly wish to spend time? Will accepting place an undue strain on your finances? If you have an annual event that you wish to attend, add the expected date now so you don’t mistakenly double-book. Curate a calendar of affairs that allow for balance and reflect what you want out of the holidays.
3. Streamline Your To-Do List
You know the season is coming every year, but it is easy to put it off until you flip the page on the calendar and see December looming ahead. Instead of waiting, get an early jump on creating your seasonal to-do list and input important items in your calendar now. Set deadlines for when you’d like to have gifts purchased or need to have orders made. Consider when you need to mail packages and cards for adequate transport times. Give yourself blocks of time set aside early on for shopping, prepping, and wrapping up loose ends.
4. Create a Holiday Budget
Financial stress should not be part of your holidays. As tempting as it is to take part in all the sales aimed your way during this time of year, take a step back and reevaluate what you can truly afford and wish to spend. Create a holiday budget prior to tackling your list and then stick with it. Knowing exactly how much you are willing to spend can help eliminate impulse buys and keep you from facing a daunting credit card bill in January. Set up a budget for entertaining, host gifts, travel, and anything else you anticipate being part of your holidays.
5. Avoid Social Media
Social media can be a fun way to share photos and experiences with loved ones, but it can also send viewers down the rabbit hole of comparisons. Keep in mind that many only post photos of smiles and highlights, which can make your news feed look as though it’s filled with exceptional trips and over-the-top lifestyles.
Take time away from looking at what others are doing or spending money on and focus instead on your own loved ones and personal connections. Algorithms on social media are also set to market directly toward your interests and search history, so minimizing it during this time can help you avoid additional pressures of commercialism.
6. Prioritize Health
The holidays can be a time of indulgence, non-stop activity, and pushing your limits. Prioritize your health this year by making a list of intentions to benefit your physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Set aside downtime to decompress and rest, especially after a busy day or stimulating activity. Be mindful of what you eat and drink, and keep fresh produce and healthy snacks stocked in your kitchen to balance out your weakness for that decadent Christmas chocolate or other holiday treats. Make your water bottle a permanent accessory to maintain hydration, which can also help curb cravings and minimize overindulgence. Give yourself the gift of a healthy mind and body for the holidays.
This holiday, prioritize whatever can help you enjoy the spirit of the season and remove holiday stress that can negatively impact it. Your finances should be the least of your concerns. Contact us today to learn about how we can help you get your finances on track so you can worry less about money woes and focus instead on your loved ones and the holiday season.