When a big holiday approaches, does your heart sink? The expense of gifts and food, the pressure of shopping for everything, and the expectations can make holidays a stressful time. It’s not all twinkling lights and happy times for everyone. We get that, for many, holidays are the most stressful time of the year. So, we’ve put together some tips on how to handle holiday stress.
Tips to Prevent Holiday Stress
1. Set a Budget
Reduce your holiday stress by determining a budget so you don’t overspend. Before you start shopping, decide how much you can afford to spend on gifts, food, and other items, including travel. Plan out your menus and then make your shopping list.
In addition to setting a budget, put money away throughout the year to save for holiday time.
To save a little money this year, try:
- Donating to charity in someone’s name
- Giving homemade presents
- Starting a family gift exchange
- Hosting a potluck family dinner
- Investing in your child or grandchild’s future
2. Stick to Your List
When you set your budget, make a list of gifts, food, and anything else you need. Come shopping time, stick to your list. While it’s tempting to buy more presents, food or decorations, that’ll only cause more stress and anxiety later on.
3. Plan Ahead
In addition to planning your spending and your purchases, plan your time around the holidays. This could include scheduling certain days for shopping, baking, and connecting with friends and family. If you’re short on time, try shopping online if you can. This will remove the stress that comes with last-minute rushing around.
4. Be Realistic
As for expectations, most of us have this magical image of the perfect holiday in our minds, just like we often see it portrayed in movies. However, set realistic expectations, or avoid having any at all. Holidays don’t have to be and certainly won’t be perfect or just like last year. And that’s okay! Families change and evolve. Embrace these changes as opportunities to create new traditions.
5. Set Aside Differences
If you have to be around certain family members that you’d rather not be, or friends that can be especially difficult, it can be stressful. You don’t have to miss out on the fun though – just try to set aside your differences and accept people for who they are. Festive gatherings are not the place to get into a serious or divisive discussion. Also, try to be understanding as others might be feeling the stress of the holidays, too.
6. Maintain Healthy Habits
It’s easy to abandon healthy habits during holidays, but you’re not doing yourself any favours. In fact, overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt, making you feel even worse. Enjoy your holidays and all the delicious food that comes with them, but don’t throw out your routine completely.
To reduce the amount of stress, exhaustion, and overwhelm you feel, try these suggestions:
- Get lots of sleep.
- Eat healthy meals.
- Don’t overeat at family dinners.
- Set aside time to be physically active.
- Practice deep-breathing exercises or yoga.
- Avoid excessive alcohol and tobacco use.
- Limit consumption of news and use of social media.
The Most Wonderful (and Stressful) Time of the Year
Limit the stress and worry you feel this season by following these tips. Focus more on enjoying the holidays than trying to make everything perfect. Whether you love the holidays or hate them, at least one study indicates that they can literally cause a heart attack. So, do your best to stay healthy and stress-free this holiday season, and reduce your chance of cardiac or other stress-related issues. Add an extra layer of protection for you and your family with Chubb’s Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance.