Holiday Stress Management
We all know that once we get in to it, we will enjoy the holiday season. Even the biggest Scrooges and Grinches get some joy out of Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza or whatever they are celebrating. However, before we get to settle down and enjoy the holidays, many of us will experience the stressful side of the holidays. Whatever you may be going through, we’ve come up with some coping mechanisms to help you with holiday stress management.
Money & Gifts
Money is a source of stress for many throughout the holiday season. As a society, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to splash out and have “the best holidays ever” or to buy the best presents. The stress and pressure can be so intense that some people even find themselves in debt once the New Year rolls around. Here are some financial stress management tips:
- Start stocking up on food, gifts and other holiday incidentals weeks before the holiday season. Buying a little each week will lessen the burden of forking out one big lump sum.
- Decide on a budget for gifts, food and alcohol, travel etc. and stick to it!
- If you have a large group of friends or family to buy gifts for, suggest a Secret Santa so you only have one gift to buy.
Kids & Santa
Kids and Santa kind of falls within the same bracket as holiday money stress. Children can be very demanding, obviously because they don’t really know where Santa’s gift come from. Here are some tips for managing a child’s expectations and your stress levels:
- Explain to kids well in advance of Christmas that Santa may not be able to bring all the gifts on a child’s wish list.
- If possible, find out early what is on a child’s list and give yourself plenty of time to look around for deals or bargains. Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be great stress-busters in this department!
- As much as you can, dissuade your child from discussing Christmas presents with other children. Some kids get more than others and you don’t want an unhappy child causing you stress by complaining that their friends received more than they did.
The holiday season comes hand in hand with a seemingly endless supply of invites to parties, dinners, drinks and other social occasions. This causes stress for some people especially introverts, shy people or those with social anxiety disorders. No one is obliged to attend every event. Here’s some social stress management advice:
- Become comfortable with the word “no”. Nobody needs to attend every Christmas or New Year party. We mostly socialize with friends, family and colleagues we see regularly. Of course, exceptions can be made for people visiting from out of town. If you think you should make an appearance, set a time limit for how long you will stay and then make your excuses and leave.
- Don’t burn the candle at both ends. Decide on how many social events you feel comfortable attending per week. Look forward to those rather than stressing about fitting in every event.
- Everyone’s family causes them stress from time to time, especially when cooped up in one house. If you find yourself in this situation, make time to unwind by taking a walk or a drive alone.
For some, hosting a party or dinner seems like the most stressful thing they could do over the holidays! For others, it’s a weight off their shoulders knowing they are in their own home and in relative control of the event. Here are some things to consider before making your mind up about hosting:
- If you host, you can set a start and end time. This means you are in control of how long the gathering lasts.
- Hosting can require a lot of cooking and baking which is an added stress, no matter how accomplished a chef someone is. If you decide to have people over to your home, have a potluck with everyone responsible for one dish.
- Ask for help! Be it a partner, a child, a sibling or a friend, get someone else on board to help out with decorating, food prep, making sure people have enough food and drinks and tidying up afterwards. Trust us; this will make almost all your stress disappear!
Travelling during the holidays can be a pain in the butt, especially with kids in tow. Combat stress by:
- Leaving earlier than you really need to. Prepare for delays e.g. canceled flights, traffic accidents, bad weather, tailbacks etc.
- Travel light. Can you buy gifts on arrival?
- Pack plenty of snacks, drinks and entertainment for kids (and yourself. Adults get bored and agitated when traveling too!)
The holidays last just a few weeks and they’re often forgotten as quickly as they happen. Don’t burden yourself with self-appointed high standards and enjoy time with those you love!
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