Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, right? Then why do 88% of Americans feel stressed out during the holidays?
Sure, the holiday season is packed with great food, cheerful music, time with loved ones, and gifts galore, but it also entails junk like:
- Memories of past trauma
- Unmet expectations
- Financial strain
- Difficult family dynamics
- Travel complications and organization
- Cleaning the home and preparing for company
- Stress, stress, and more stress
That’s a lot handle at once, especially during a time you’re supposed to be full of joy and gratitude not stress.
Beyond general annoyance, stress can have adverse effects on our bodies. It can impact our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, even leading to high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. A startling study showed there’s an increase in heart attacks and heart-related deaths during the holiday season, possibly due to stress.
Needless to say, when Christmas rolls around, a lot of people have less than a holly jolly time.
If this sounds like your past holiday-experience, keep reading, we’re sharing 5 strategies for a festive, stress-free Christmas this year.
- Prepare and Save Early
A lot of people look forward to gift giving. Nothing beats seeing the joy on a loved one’s face when you buy them something they adore. However, with the average American spending $900 per person on Christmas gifts, giving the perfect gift comes with a hefty price tag.
One way to alleviate stress and prevent financial panic during the holiday season is to prepare early and save throughout the year. If you have a budget, set aside a small amount each month in preparation for Christmas spending. When December rolls around, you’ll have a nice cushion to pull from. An easy way to decide how much to save is by mapping out who you’re buying gifts for and deciding in advance how much you’re willing to spend. Then, divide that number by 12 and set aside that much each month.
- Throw a Potluck
Not surprisingly, one of the largest causes of stress during the holidays is what to cook, who should host, and who should prepare the meal.
Instead of placing all the responsibility on one person’s plate, opt to throw Christmas dinner potluck style. Have every guest supply an appetizer, side dish, or dessert with the host cooking the main dish. If someone’s traveling far and can’t tote along food, they can help by supplying dishes or volunteering to clean up. This ensures no one feels like they’re doing everything and everyone plays their part.
- Ask For Help
Asking for help isn’t always easy, especially when you feel like you should be able to handle everything. However, you’re just one person and can’t be a million places at once.
This holiday season, get comfortable delegating tasks and asking for assistance. Whether you need your spouse to run an errand, your child to help decorate, or your neighbor to watch your dog while you’re out of town, it’s okay to let others help you. Not only will things get done quicker, your stress and anxiety will melt away. People love feeling helpful—all you need to do is ask.
- Find An Outlet
It’s impossible to eliminate stress from the holiday season. It’s a busy, fun-filled time with lots going on. Though you can’t get rid of stress completely, you can find ways to relax and recharge.
Whatever outlet you use to regroup, be sure to make time for it even during the holidays. Whether you need to go for a walk, take a long nap, read a good book, watch a Christmas classic, or get a massage, it’s important to allow yourself some time out. You’ll come back better, more energized, and a lot less stressed.
- Focus on Family and Fun
At the end of the day, Christmas isn’t about giving the perfect gift, cooking an unforgettable meal, or making sure everything goes to plan. It’s about celebrating the season with your loved ones, spreading joy, and having fun.
When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed this Christmas, take a few minutes to look around and soak up all the goodness surrounding you. It doesn’t matter if the ham burned or the kids were upset about their gifts, what matters is you’re together, and that’s enough.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed about the upcoming Christmas season, give us a call. We’ll help you map out a plan to address any possible stressors and find ways to recharge and regroup. Plus, we just might have cookies in the office…everything is better with cookies.