Tips and Tricks for Managing Holiday Stress

‘Tis the season to be … stressed out? While the holidays are commonly associated with joy and good cheer, the reality is that many people feel heightened levels of stress and anxiety during this super-busy time of the year. So what can you do to get the most out of the holiday season while keeping your blood pressure intact? Below are some tips and tricks you can use to help you manage holiday stress.

1. Take care of yourself.
With all of the planning, shopping, decorating, socializing, traveling, and other activities that the holiday season can bring, it’s easy to run yourself ragged before you know it. You’re not going to be any good to anyone if you’re exhausted and stressed out to the max, so it’s a good idea for you to dial back as many unnecessary activities as you can during this busy time. This means that it might not be the best time to finally organize that file cabinet like you’ve been meaning to do, or clean out the thousands of emails in your inbox that have been sitting there for months. Those files and emails can sit there for a few more weeks without doing any harm, so take that time instead to relax, read a book, take a nap, get a manicure, etc. Whatever you can do to unplug for a little while in the midst of all the holiday chaos, it can really help bring those stress levels down a few notches.

2. Establish a budget and stick to it.
Whether it’s going overboard on preparing a Thanksgiving feast or getting a little too carried away with the Christmas gifts, the holiday season has a tendency to bring out the worst in our money management habits. While spending a little extra money during this time is virtually inevitable, you shouldn’t stretch your wallet too thin, as this will only add to your stress levels. Instead, make a budget and stick to it, so that you won’t have to deal with any unpleasant financial surprises once the holidays have passed.

3. Avoid procrastination at all costs.
Nothing can bring on the stress quite like putting things off until the last minute. Get started a couple of weeks earlier on all of your holiday tasks (e.g., mailing cards, buying gifts, etc.) and do a little bit at a time, so that you won’t be pulling your hair out when the clock is winding down.

4. Be willing to ask for help.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to do it all, but this will only cause you more stress and anxiety over what’s not getting done. Ask for help from family and friends with things like cooking, decorating, gift wrapping, etc., and resist the urge to micro-manage when you’ve given them a task to carry out. When you let go and let others help, you’ll feel a sense of support that can do wonders for reducing your stress levels.

5. Don’t have unrealistic expectations.
Stuff happens. The Thanksgiving turkey might get a little overcooked, or that Pegasus Beanie Boo you’ve been trying to snag on Amazon might be sold out. There will be inconveniences, setbacks and mishaps, but it doesn’t have to ruin your whole holiday season. Try to keep a healthy perspective about what’s really important, which is spending time and making memories with family and friends. Do your best to stay in the moment and enjoy yourself, and don’t sweat the small stuff.