Tips for Reducing Holiday Stress
The holidays are a joyous time of year but they can also be a bit stressful. The starting bell rings at Thanksgiving and it doesn’t wind down until the New Year ball drops on Times Square! It takes some of us well into January until the last holiday box is stored and we get back to our routines. Here are some things you can do to simplify the holidays and make them more enjoyable.
Don't over-schedule. The holidays are a time when we try to reconnect with friends and family. There are unlimited holiday events to take part in. You’ll receive many invitations, especially if you have young children. It’s tempting to try to do it all but remember there is a point of diminishing returns. Be selective with your obligations. Try to avoid accepting multiple invitations for the same day or scheduling events every day. Allow downtime to recharge yourself. Enjoy your home during the holidays. Establish traditions with your own family. Instead of a large party, consider planning a lunch or dinner with your friend in January when you’ll be better able to visit.
Manage holiday preparations. It’s tempting to try to create a Martha Stewart holiday with extensive decorations, an assortment of baked goods, and handwritten holiday cards. Between work and holiday events, there is limited time to shop, wrap gifts, and complete all the holiday preparations. Consider the following options to simplify:
Shop during off-peak times to avoid crowds or shop online to save time.
Send cards at Thanksgiving or New Years, or send e-cards.
Limit decorations to your favorites and use some disposable decorations such as greenery and berries.
Have a neighborhood cookie exchange so you only have to bake one item but receive an assortment.
Draw names for gifts with extended family.
Schedule holiday preparations a bit each week.
De-clutter and organize holiday decorations. There is no better time to get control of your holiday decorations than when you’re setting up. Keep and display the things you love. Let go of the things that spend year after year in the box. Toss broken items. Donate items that you’ve lost interest in but can be appreciated by someone else. Invest in sturdy, colored boxes that are easily identifiable (red and green ones are readily available). At the end of the season, organize and store items with labels to make next year’s set up easy.
Prevent Over-Accumulation. The holidays result in the intake of more things in our homes to manage. Ideally, limit the number of gifts so they are more meaningful. Practice the “one in, one out” rule. If you receive new clothes, find some old clothes in your closet that you can let go of. Allow kids to choose toys they are no longer excited about to donate. Explain the process to them so they develop compassion and a giving spirit (this is a great practice for birthdays as well!). Most importantly, find “homes” for new items you’ve received.
Remember, the holidays are not about achieving perfection according to some standard, but rather to make them an enjoyable and memorable time for you and your family.