8 Ways to Enjoy a Stress-Free Holiday Season
Ah, the holidays. Never in the history of humankind has there ever been anything we look forward to more or dread as much. That’s because even when we’re overwhelmed with lists of things to do, buy, prepare, and places to be, the one word we rarely use is no. We don’t like to disappoint the people we love, even at our own expense. But if everyone is feeling like you’re feeling (and believe me a lot of them are) then maybe it’s time to start a new holiday tradition where you just say no to holiday stress.
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Life is busy and stressful enough on a daily basis, but then there are the holidays and the inevitable stress involved. It’s a time of heightened emotions, with less time to do more, and a time when your financial situation may be under intense focus. It’s also a time when time-consuming travel may come into the picture, giving you even less time than you thought you had. But you don’t have to be as stressed out as you usually are. Here are eight ways to say no to holiday stress!
Let Some Stuff Go
While you can’t let work go, there are some non-holiday things you can relinquish at least for a while. If you’re entertaining it’ll be your hospitality that people remember most, not your cluttered space or your inability to wrap presents neatly.
Give Memorable Gifts That Don’t Break Your Budget
Having a budget will cut down on your stress, but giving a gift that reminds someone of your unique connection can be affordable and more importantly, priceless. For example: A simple photo of you and friends on your last vacation reinforces your bond and will go in a place of prominence in their house or office where it will be treasured daily. Taking a minute to decorate the frame with some painted words such as “Best Friends for Life” will make it all the more precious.
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Try Shopping Early
Did you ever see something that would be perfect for a friend or family member, but didn’t get it because it was September? Well if you spend a few bucks early in the year, your holiday shopping list won’t give you that sticker shock you get when the bills role in around January. If you’re worried you won’t remember what you bought for whom, write out a list and pin it somewhere visible. Put the gifts in a box in the closet and mark it “Christmas 2015” or whatever holiday it is you’re celebrating. That way, if any last-minute gift buying needs to be done, you won’t feel strapped for cash.
Start Wrapping Early
If you bought some gifts earlier in the year, why not get ahead on the wrapping process? If you think you may change your mind as to whom to give what gift, you can still wrap them ahead of time and attach a post-it with the name. Write the gift labels out later. If you keep a list, even better.
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Limit Exposure to Stressful People and Situations
If you’re visiting family but you can’t imagine enduring a sleepover, get a hotel room and don’t get talked out of it. If need be, you can always come up with a little white lie about why you needed a room. My cousin always says, “I want to order room service. Are you going to be my room service?” Of course everyone replies with an emphatic no. You’ll get a good night’s rest and wake at your leisure. Book early to save money.
Don’t Skip Meals
Try to stick to your normal routine and eat your normal foods, but if you happen to indulge in a little too much of anything, don’t stress out. Skipping meals will add to stress, because your body is used to its normal cycles. Besides, overeating is kind of expected around the holidays. Counteract the effects of overeating by adding a few extra workouts to next month’s schedule. And if you got a room at a hotel, you can work it off even sooner at the hotel’s gym.
Plan Your Vacation Days Early
Even if you’re not sure what you’re doing, it’s easier to give days back then to try and get them later in the season. You don’t have to plan a trip. You can use the time to get all your holiday shopping or decorating done. If you can plan your time off around a holiday like Columbus Day or Veteran’s Day when there are sales, even better. If you’re traveling, give yourself an extra day off to regroup. You can also take a day off to prepare food if you’re the holiday host/hostess. Some things can be made and put in the freezer.
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Don’t Forget to Have Fun
Meet an old friend for drinks after work one day. Sometimes a few laughs with a friend can be as relaxing as a good night’s sleep. Holidays are meant to be enjoyed, and if you manage your time and spread things out, it’ll make it easier to just say no to holiday stress.