“It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” could probably just as easily be called the most stressful time of the year. Due to financial strain, Christmas parties and events, travel, out of town guests and difficult family dynamics - the holiday season can bring on a lot of stress and anxiety.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way. There are things we can intentionally do to keep stress levels low during this hectic, yet truly wonderful time of the year.
Stick to your budget
Hopefully by now, you have made a budget but if you haven’t, stop and make one now! Even if you have a comfortable financial situation, chances are, you still worry about money. Making and, more importantly, sticking to a budget will help keep your stress over finances down.
Protect your calendar
One of the best things about the holiday season is spending time with friends and family but your calendar can quickly fill up with events and parties, to the point of pushing your own family traditions and fun aside.
Before the season is in full swing, sit down and make a list of all of the things you want to do with your family such as cookie decorating, looking at lights, caroling, cutting down a tree, attending a tree lighting ceremony etc. Put these things, even the ones that seem “small”, on your calendar. and protect those dates.
If you have special friends or family members that have annual parties, you can even be proactive about finding out the dates and getting them on your calendar so that you aren’t double and triple booking yourself.
And don’t be afraid to say no to events! Which will be much easier to do if start early and prioritize.
Let it go
One of the biggest sources of stress during the holidays for many is family conflict. I’m not going to pretend that years of strife with family can be resolved in one Christmas day but learning to lay your disagreements aside can spare you a lot of drama and stress!
Take a break
It may seem counterproductive during such a busy time but taking a break can leave you refreshed, replenish your creativity and keep your stress level down.
Don’t do things out of obligation
This can be a tricky one because many of us, at some level, feel some sense of obligation during the holiday season. But, if the only reason you are doing something is because you feel that it is your obligation you are better off not doing it. Trust me!
Instead of doing things out of obligation, ask yourself if there is another reason that you should do said “obligation”.
For example, I feel a little bit obligated to go to my work Christmas party. But if I go simply because I feel like I “have” to no one is going to want me there, anyway.
I am going because I genuinely enjoy spending time with my co-workers and since I work from home, it’s not something I get to do often. Plus, I really love the restaurant we’re going to!
See how shifting your mindset can change your sense of obligation? And, if you can’t make a shift then, seriously, just don’t do it! Doing things out of duty will only make you feel stress an rob the joy of the season for you and others.
You don’t have to join a gym or start training for a marathon but being physically active is proven to reduce stress due to the fact that it releases endorphins and as Elle Woods says, “Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.”
Wishing you and yours a very merry and stress-free holiday!
About the Author
Hi! I'm Inez, the owner and content creator of For the Love of Mom, a website dedicated to helping moms thrive in motherhood by offering helpful advice, tips and resources.