Well, this can be the year that you get ahead of the game. Starting today.
Here are three simple Holiday Habits that will help you avoid stress this year:
Habit #1: Set your schedule now
Each year, the biggest mistake you make is not making plans early enough. Take a stand this year and plan out your calendar of holiday events. Do it now.
– Include parties, gift exchanges, company events, travel plans and school activities.
– Call friends, and research online dates of any school and business-related events.
– Firm-up all travel plans – this is the least flexible item of your plans. Create strict itineraries for date/time when you’re leaving, how you’re traveling, 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.
Don’t put decisions off. It’s a holiday plan-killer.
Habit #2: Deadline and discipline yourself
Nothing feels more stressful than knowing you’re running out of time. Set hard and fast dates for accomplishing your tasks, and do yourself a favor — follow them!
– Break large tasks down into smaller, easier tasks. For example: Holiday cards? Plan to write-out 10 each day for two weeks; Spread-out gift shopping over the month of November, online shopping during the week, and in-store on weekends.
– Take deadlines seriously! Schedule your plan now and stick to it.
– Don’t get caught in carefree holiday mode – you’ll pay for it in lost time.
– Remember balance: fit in time for life’s other priorities such as work and family.
Seemingly unimportant tasks become horribly urgent if they’re put off over the holidays.
Habit #3: Don’t over-commit
Is it humanly possible for you and your family to do everything and still have time to relax and enjoy? Let’s face it, we love our holidays and we always go overboard.
– Say no. For the sake of sanity you may have to turn down a party or two. You only have so much time.
– Say no, again. Yes, you may have to forgo those homemade “secret recipe” cookies you’ve been dying to make. Things that seem easy now quickly become your worst nightmares when the holidays arrive.
– Keep a 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 Bonus Habit:
A major source of holiday stress (and post-holiday stress) is your personal health, so:
– Limit your indulgences
– Get sleep
– Cut back on party snacks
– Keep tabs on your desserts
– Limit alcohol consumption
Plan to have fun, but just don’t pay for it later.