The holiday set the stage for joyful reunions and brand new memories. Unfortunately, they can also promote stress, especially when we are saddled with overwhelming responsibilities and unrealistic expectations. To ease your burden during the holiday season, consider these strategies for a more streamlined, stress-free experience.
Make travel arrangements early.
If you plan to visit friends or family during the holiday season, make your travel arrangements as early as possible. You can avoid high airfares by purchasing your tickets in the early fall. You should also make sure you have someone to handle your pets, plants and mail while you are out of town.
Shop online whenever possible.
Very few things are as stressful as driving from store to store at the last minute searching for the ideal gift. Luckily, nowadays you can do most of your shopping on the internet. Due to increased demand, however, you may face extended shopping times. This is why it’s so important to start your online shopping spree as soon as possible. Not only will this make the holidays less stressful, it can help you sidestep the high cost of expedited shipping.
Buy a lot of wrapping paper.
Make sure you have plenty of supplies to help you wrap all of your gifts. This includes boxes, ribbon and tape. You should also consider wrapping every gift the same day you buy it, so you won’t have to rush to wrap all your presents at once.
Prioritize your health.
When we are feeling overwhelmed by seasonal obligations, we tend to neglect ourselves. You will be able to manage your stress a lot better if get plenty of sleep and eat a healthy diet. You should also prioritize your health by honoring appointments with your doctor and local dentist. While it’s easy to get focused on pleasing other people during the holidays, it’s just as important to think about yourself and your long-term health.
Don’t spend too much.
Money is a huge stressor that can turn a joyful holiday season into a disaster. Be sure to honestly assess your financial limitations. Once you know exactly how much you can afford to spend, stay within your budget, even if you happen to run across that perfect gift at the very last second.
Accept what comes.
We all want our holiday experiences to be happy. In the real world, however, there is no way to plan for illnesses, emergencies and plain old bad moods. Do your best to maintain reasonable expectations for your holiday season. If things don’t go perfectly, try to turn the page and keep a positive attitude. When we exhaust ourselves in a desperate attempt for perfection, we set ourselves up for disappointment and resentment for not being fully appreciated. By keeping a practical perspective, you can minimize stress, while reducing the likelihood of that dreaded letdown that often comes in January.