3 Essential Tips for Beating Holiday Stress

If you’re like most people, chances are you will be receiving one especially unwanted gift this holiday season. It’s Holiday Stress.

This is truly the gift that keeps on giving, and most Americans say their holiday time management is one of the biggest causes of holiday stress.

Case in point: recent holiday stress statistics show that 67% of Americans experience holiday stress due to a “lack of time.”

It’s practically an epidemic. But luckily you can take steps to avoid holiday stress and enjoy this blessed time with friends and family, and here they are:

1: START YOUR CELEBRATION EARLY

Why wait? Get started with your planning now and use valuable time you have in these pre-holiday days, before the jingle madness sets in.

Typically, you don’t pin down your plans early enough. Then later, you feel out of control, like a pinball bouncing from one activity to another. Be proactive and make thoughtful choices with your time. Do it now.

Here are some tips:

  • Host a holiday planning and decoration party with your friends and family where you coordinate calendars, share shopping duties, trade coupons and relax in “the calm before the storm.”
  • Fill your calendar with all the events you anticipate, including parties, gift exchanges, company events, travel plans and school activities. This may take some phone or web research to chase down event details.
  • Firm up all travel plans. This is the least flexible item of all holiday plans. Create strict itineraries for date/time when you’re leaving, how you’re travelling, and where you’re staying. Solve your problems and eliminate your guesswork now.
  • Make lists of all the things that take effort: gifts you’ll need to buy, errands you’ll need to run, food you’ll need to prepare, and decorations you’ll need to hang. Don’t forget the small but important items such as scotch tape, dry cleaning, baby sitters, stamps, and non-dairy creamer.
  • Stop procrastinating. It’s a holiday plan-killer.

2: BE A TIME GRINCH

Knowing you’re running out of time is the most stressful feeling of all. Holidays always have way of sneaking up on you, so grab up all the time you can right now.

Try this:

  • Set hard and fast dates for accomplishing your tasks. Create a holiday calendar where you write down firm, written commitments to your plans. This step will avoid you putting off important things until last minute.
  • Break larger tasks down into smaller chunks. Choose to do a certain number of holiday cards each day, or spread out your shopping duties over the course of a week.
  • Take your deadlines seriously. Mark down your plans and stick to them, and don’t get caught in carefree holiday mode. You’ll pay for it in lost time.
  • Remember balance. You need to fit in time for the rest of life’s priorities such as work and family.

3: HAVE LIMITS

It’s easy to go overboard when you’re decking the halls. We love all our holiday trimmings, but stress shouldn’t be one of them.

Give this a shot:

  • Take a reality check, and decide ahead of time if your holiday planning is truly doable. Is it humanly possible for you to do everything and still have time to relax and enjoy the holidays? In all likelihood you’re taking on too much.
  • Say no. For the sake of your own sanity you may have to turn down that one extra party on your schedule. You only have so much time.
  • Say no, again. For the sake of sanity you may have to forgo making homemade cookies for your daughter’s classmates and instead buy pre-made. What seems easy now may be a chore when the holidays are in full swing.
  • Keep the big picture. While you’re busy planning the minutia of your festivities remember what your holiday is truly about. Will planning those extra decorations truly equate to more happiness? Make it your choice to not be stressed this year.

ONE FINAL NOTE:

A major source of holiday stress (and post-holiday stress) stems from your personal health. Limit your indulgences. Get sleep, cut back on the party snacks, keep tabs on your dessert and limit your alcohol consumption. Plan to have fun, but just don’t pay for it later.

Day-Timer Spokesperson Jeff Doubek can be reached at [email protected]