8 Strategies for a Stress-free Holiday Season

Smart Tips for a Stress-free Holiday Season

While they can set the stage for joyful memories, the holidays also bring considerable stress. Here are some smart strategies for a stress-free holiday season:

  

  1. Shop online, as early as you can. Few things can be as stressful as driving all over town in search of the perfect gifts. Fortunately, these days you can do the vast majority of your holiday shopping online. The catch? Due to high demand, it can take a long time for items to ship. Get out in front of things by doing your online shopping as early as possible. This will help you side-step stress, while also allowing you to avoid extra costs associated with expedited shipping.

  1. Eat and sleep. Poor diets and insufficient sleep can combine to promote stress by sapping our energy and weakening our immune systems. Make sure to get between seven to nine hours of sleep every night and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, so you will have the energy and outlook you need during the frenetic holiday season.

  1. Make lists. Whether it's shopping or event planning, there are always some minor details that get overlooked. Streamline your holiday planning by creating lists that break down your responsibilities into manageable tasks. Not only will this help you avoid oversights; it can also improve your outlook, every time you cross an item of your list.

  1. Stock up on supplies. Make sure you have plenty of ribbon, tags, twine, wrapping paper, gift boxes and tape. You should also consider creating a wrapping station, where you can comfortably wrap gifts without having to stoop, bend or sit on your knees. Instead of waiting to wrap every present on a single night, try your best to wrap presents right after you purchase them, so you won't feel overwhelmed at the last minute.

  1. Make a budget. Sit down and honestly assess exactly how much you can afford to spend this holiday season. Make sure to account for shopping, decorations and meals. Once you have your budget, stick to it. After all, when we spend too much money on the holidays, stress can continue to plague us well into the New Year.

  1. Buy plane tickets early. If you plan to travel during the holidays, buy your tickets as soon as you can. Since airfare tends to skyrocket during late December, you can save hundreds of dollars by securing your tickets early. You should also make advanced arrangements to have someone take care of your mail, plants and pets.

  1. Ask for help. When we try to take on too much, we can feel resentful and overwhelmed. Don't be afraid to delegate specific responsibilities to your partner, children or a close friend. Ask for help running errands, decorating the home or filling out holiday cards. Resist your urge to control everything, and let others contribute as much as possible.

  1. Be realistic. We all want happy holiday seasons that create lifelong memories. That said, even the most perfect plans can't account for burned food, bad moods or a poorly timed illness. Try to have reasonable expectations when planning your holiday festivities. Remember to focus on the things that matter, and don't exhaust yourself trying to make every detail perfect. By having a practical outlook, you can avoid the disappointment and letdown that often come immediately after the holiday season.

  
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