While the holidays may be a time to put your feet up and relax over a few glasses of eggnog for some, it’s a much more hectic period for others. Numerous work and family functions to attend, Christmas shopping to complete, office Secret Santa exchanges to plan, in addition to the end of year assignments that your boss just dropped on your desk, the holidays can be anything but tranquil.
For those who are dreading the “holiday hassles” that intensify as we approach December 25th, here are a few suggestions that should make the upcoming weeks a little more manageable.
Plan a budget and stick to it
There are two resources you need to budget wisely this holiday season in order to save yourself a migraine: time and money. If you’ve been burdened by a jam-packed December calendar in the past, you’re not alone. “Too many activities, even if they are fun activities, can culminate in too much holiday stress and leave us feeling frazzled, rather than fulfilled,” writes Elizabeth Scott, author and wellness coach. “If you usually become overwhelmed by a flurry of baking, caroling, shopping, sending cards, visiting relatives and other activities that leave you exhausted by January, you may want to examine your priorities, pick a few favorite activities and really enjoy them, while skipping the rest.”
The same goes for money. Purchasing the latest gadgets as gifts, picking up decorations for the house, and booking your ticket home can leave you in the red by month’s end. Take the time to review your finances and determine how much you can realistically spend over the holidays. It’s estimated that Americans shoppers will spend $801 on gifts this holiday season. If your budget is far below that number, however, there’s no need to make adjustments. The consumerization of Christmas and the keeping up with the Joneses mentality has driven holiday spending for decades now, but there’s no reason it should influence your habits as well.
Learn to say no
If your inbox is being flooded with Evite after Evite and your niece is begging you for a 128GB iPad Air, it’s ok to turn down those requests. “Friends and colleagues will understand if you can't participate in every project or activity,” warns the Mayo Clinic. “Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed.” Instead, examine the list of requests and invites that have been presented to you, prioritize them, and then using the budgets you’ve created – both time and money budgets – decide which activities you can attend and which requests you can fulfill. There’s no need to feel a sense of guilt when you hit the “No” button on some RSVPs.
Find time for yourself
Though one of the main themes of the holiday season is togetherness, so is peace and serenity. If you’ve just returned from the mall with coffee spills on your coat, a parking fine in your pocket, and a bruised hip from slipping on an ice patch, a little time to yourself might help reel in your anxiety. Take a long hot bath, listen to your favorite album, or sit back and watch the game. Have an arsenal of “me” activities at your disposal for when times get tough.
If you’re someone who hates crowded malls and cramped parking lots, do your shopping online. Many sites offer free shipping that can help keep your budget intact. Gap.com offers free shipping and free returns on orders over $50, while the minimum for Best Buy and Barnes and Noble is only $25 spent to qualify for free shipping. That way, your budget stays intact and you’re not overwhelmed by the long lines at the cash register.
What are your tips for dealing with holiday stressors? Share them with us @NapkinBetaBeyond.