Raise your hand if you are feeling stressed and overwhelmed with what’s on your holiday to-do list. Yes, we’re over here raising our hands, too. With parties to host, gifts to buy and a million other things to do, it’s easy to forget the real meaning of this season. To help you refocus on what’s important and have a stress-free holiday season, our contributor, Joana Ferreira, is offering five helpful tips for you to keep in mind during the next few weeks.
1. Plan Ahead.
The first step for a stress-free holiday season is to plan ahead. Grab a notebook and list everything that is on your plate, such as gift shopping, Christmas parties and recipes to make. When you’re done, schedule important dates on your planner to make sure you meet your deadlines and don’t forget special events. You might have noticed that mental notes are not very helpful, so getting it all down on paper will actually give you a clear vision of what needs to be done. Plus, what’s better than checking something off your to-do list?
2. Create a Game Plan.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help because you don’t need to do it all. Instead, let each member of the family play a different role. Need help cooking? Maybe your partner can help you out. Don’t enjoy wrapping presents? Find someone in your family who finds it therapeutic instead of overwhelming.
3. It’s OK to Say ‘No.’
Over-committing and over-scheduling are both very typical over the holiday season. It can be hard to say ‘no,’ whether because you don’t want to disappoint a family member or because you fear missing out on the office holiday party. However, that will only lead to anxiety and stress. Remember that it’s OK to say ‘no.’ People will understand that this is a busy time of the year and you can’t do it all.
4. Prioritize Me-Time.
Just because the holiday season is all about spending time with your loved ones, it doesn’t mean you should let your own needs fall to the side. Make sure to schedule time for yourself and for all the things that make you feel good. If you do this, you’ll feel more relaxed and ready to tackle holiday stress.
5. Focus on What’s Important.
One of the biggest causes of stress over the holidays is a gap between expectations and reality. Remember that it is OK if things don’t go according to the plan. Don’t waste your energy focusing on a new recipe that didn’t go so well or on that little disagreement between two of your relatives. Let go of expectations and focus on what’s important.