While many people love the holidays, that joy and cheer can quickly turn into stress and dread from all the holiday shopping, traffic jams, tree cutting, and the million other things you have to do this time of year. If you don’t beat the stress, you’ll get worn down, and it can increase your chances of holiday depression and weight gain.
You can reduce your stress before the holidays even start by making a to-do list. Write down everything you need to get done and when. Then – and here’s the hard part – start cutting. Many of those family traditions started with family members who didn’t have to worry about today’s hectic schedules. If you want to keep up with the modern world, you may have to give up some of your rituals. Figure out what you want to keep and what you can live without.
If there are certain things you want to keep, but don’t have the time to do, don’t be afraid to ask others to chip in. Ask your friends and family to bring a dish to a meal to cut down on your cooking, or get your partner to help with the shopping. You can also start a new tradition with your kids by adding them to the list of helpers.
After you’re done with your to-do list, use that to work out a holiday budget. If you don’t, you could spend the whole season spending too much, then worrying about how much you’re spending. Be realistic about what you want to do and how much you want to spend. The most important part about the budget is sticking with it. While this may be a struggle now, it’s less of a struggle than trying to come up with money you don’t have.
A great way to cut down on stress is to cut down on holiday treats. Not only can those goodies cause you to stress out about packing on the pounds, they can wreak havoc on your mood as well. All that sugar can get your blood sugar levels out of whack, and the bounce back will leave you sluggish. Instead of indulging on treats, try making your own healthy snacks to enjoy and even share with others. Also remember to eat three healthy meals a day to keep you energy up.
There’s one item you probably forgot off your holiday to-do list that you need to add: taking a break. We often fill our time so tightly, we forget to budget some for ourselves. Whether it’s having a bubble bath, going to the gym, or simply sitting in your living room listening to relaxing music, take time to do something for yourself. You’ll probably find you can get the other things on your list done faster when you’re relaxed and energized.
No matter what you do, the holidays are probably going to be more stressful than the rest of the year. However, if you plan ahead and make an effort to relax, you can get through them without being totally burnt out for the New Year.