Dealing With the Pressures of the Holidays
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Dealing With the Pressures of the Holidays

Though the holidays are meant to be warm, fun-filled times when you get together with family and friends, they can also be stressful.

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Dealing With the Pressures of the Holidays

Though the holidays are meant to be warm, fun-filled times when you get together with family and friends, they can also be stressful. When you’re tasked with buying gifts, wrapping them, cooking a feast and traveling extensively, you might feel overwhelmed. That’s natural. Thankfully, there are ways to beat the seasonal stress and get back to being merry.

How to Take the Pressure Off

Here are some ways to make the holidays less hectic:

1. Give One Type of Gift

Instead of buying personalized presents for every family member, choose one gift idea and give it to everyone. You can still give people slight variations on the theme to suit their personality, but you don’t need to customize your entire shopping list.

Some gift ideas include:

  • Succulents in tiny pots. You can paint the pots to distinguish them if you like, such as by painting people’s names on them.
  • Spices or teas from around the world
  • Cozy socks with different colors or patterns
  • Boxes of chocolates

This takes some of the stress out of shopping.

2. Turn Down Events

Sure, you might want to attend your family’s annual get-together, but should you also feel obligated to show up for the office Christmas party? No! If you’re already stressed, don’t add more events to your calendar. Politely decline them, and send a card and gifts when appropriate. Show people your packed schedule if they make you feel guilty about saying no.

3. Plan Ahead

Waiting until Christmas Eve to start gift shopping is a surefire way to have a hectic season. Start making plans early to calm the chaos. Decide who will get what type of gift, where you’ll spend each holiday and who’s traveling with you.

If you’ll be flying or driving a long distance, book hotels and plane tickets in advance. Have plans for a pet sitter to watch your pets while you’re out of town. If you take medication, call the pharmacy to refill your prescription long before you leave. Make the holidays as easy on yourself as possible.

4. Create a Budget

On the subject of planning, creating and sticking to a budget is a good idea for the holidays and life in general. Between gift shopping, travel expenses and food, you can easily drain your bank account if you don’t keep a tight leash on your finances.

Don’t buy extravagant presents if you won’t be able to pay rent. It’s OK to do something a little more low-key this year. After all, the holiday season is really about spending time with loved ones.

5. Divide Up Responsibilities

Are you stressed about cooking a huge meal for your guests? Why not have a potluck instead? That way, everyone can bring something they love, and you only have to prepare one dish. Or, encourage guests to each bring their favorite drink.

After a holiday bash, ask your family to help you clean the kitchen or recycle the gift wrappers strewn about the living room. Employ someone to walk the dog or help you put away leftovers. By sharing some of your responsibilities with others, you’ll be better able to relax.

6. Make Time for Yourself

With all the social events on your calendar, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Remember to take breaks and spend some time alone — it’s as basic of a human need as socializing. Take a walk, retire to your room for a while or enjoy a hot bubble bath after a long get-together.

If it’s hard to find privacy, use noise-canceling headphones to help you retreat for a while.

Having a Stress-Free Season

OK, so it may not be entirely stress free, but you can certainly make things run more smoothly. By planning ahead, carving out time for relaxation and keeping things simple, you’ll have a much easier holiday season. And, if you’re lucky, you may even start looking forward to next Christmas.

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