Many people find Christmas and New Year time particularly stressful, as many things are going on and need to be taken care of: work, parties, kids’ activities at school, gift shopping, baking, decorating, etc. Sometimes these things and stress can derail us from focusing and enjoying what is really important at this wonderful time of year – building relationships, spending time with our families, celebrating God’s greatest gift to all of us and enjoying the beauty of these holidays.
Here are some tips to help you to reduce stress during holidays, to focus on what matters most and to enjoy this wonderful season.
1) Make a list of everything that should be done
Planning ahead and listing all things that should be done will help you to control where your time, money go and see how realistic your plans are. This list should include activities (work, parties, shopping, preparations, drive time, gift wrapping, sending out greeting cards, time with kids, physical exercises, etc) and things “to buy” (gifts, food, decorations, etc).
Do not forget to include activities that are not associated with holidays, but actually still are the most important during this season – time with your loved ones, family, kids, etc.
Listing everything is the key to balance and less stress at this time of year.
2) Choose your Christmas activities wisely
Remember, we all have 24 hours in a day. During this time of year we might have more activities planned than time we have for them. So, once you’ve made a list of everything that should be done, ask yourself if each activity is really important.
- Will it add to your stress?
- Should you attend every party you are invited to?
- Should you prepare gifts for everyone on your list or this time you will do it only for family members?
Eliminate activities that are not that important. Choose wisely. Learn to say NO graciously.
3) Decide on a budget and stick to it
Overspending and getting into debt will only add to your stress now and later. Therefore before you go gift and food shopping, decide how much money you can afford to spend this month. Then stick to your budget. Don’t try to buy happiness with an avalanche of gifts.
If you do not have money for everything on your list, think about eliminating some things, think of creative gifts you can give that cost less but express your love.
Buy a few extras, such as chocolates, just in case you forget somebody or you have unexpected guests.
Keep a journal of all your expenditures. Know each day how much you’ve spent so far.
Remember, the greatest gifts you can give to someone at this time of year are your TIME and LOVE.
4) Schedule activities and to-do’s
Schedule everything from your list in actual time on your calendar (a start time, how long it will take, and a completion time).
When everything is scheduled in your calendar, you’ll be able to relax knowing that everything that needs to be done is planned to be taken care of.
Stick to a schedule. Review your schedule daily to see where and when you need to adjust your activities and plans.
5) Shop for gifts online whenever is possible
Shopping malls can be a huge energy and time drain during Christmas. By doing your shopping online you can save money and time. Do that whenever is possible. Learn about shipping deadlines to make sure your gifts arrive on time.
6) Pre-plan and coordinate your trips to the store
If you absolutely must go to the store, make this trip as effective as possible:
- make a list of things “to buy” to keep you focused
- shop fast. More time you spend in the store, more money you are likely to spend there.
- buy everything at once (food, gifts, etc.) instead of running back and forth to the store several times
- call ahead before you go to the store to check whether they have what you are looking for
- pre-plan your journey to visit multiple locations in the most effective way
7) Involve family members
Don’t do it all yourself: involve every member of the family – decorating, shopping, gift-wrapping, baking, house cleaning. Turn them into family-time activities.
8) Focus on what matters most
Develop an attitude of gratitude instead of wanting more things.
Help everyone in your family to focus on the needs of others and how you can help people around you. Discuss and practice ways to share the season’s joy with others.
Spend time together playing games, having fun and enjoying each other.
Prepare to enjoy this wonderful time of year with less stress! 🙂
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