With its sparkling lights and joyful music, the holiday season often carries a less talked about companion: Added stress. Eight in ten Americans say the expectations and events around the holidays increase their focus, and many say it causes them to get less sleep. That might include you.
It’s the time of year when our calendars overflow with commitments, and our to-do lists stretch longer than Santa’s. Getting caught up in overdoing, overthinking, and over-expecting is easy.
With a few simple strategies, you can unwrap the happiness of the holidays without worrying, being overwhelmed, or anxious.
Here Are 12 Stress-Busting Strategies for a Peaceful Holiday Season
#1 Set Realistic Expectations: The Perfectly Imperfect Holiday
First, let go of the idea of a “perfect” holiday. It is a myth that does not happen. Embrace a perfectly imperfect holiday instead.
This means accepting that not everything will go as planned, which is okay. Uncle Joe may show up late. Someone may not like your gravy, and your table decorations might turn out differently than you planned. But the laughter, conversations, and memories are what truly matter.
#2 Know your Limits: The Art of Saying No
You are not a superhero, and it is crucial to recognize your limits. It is alright to say no to making everything from scratch. It’s okay to ask people to bring food for the celebration. Let it be a sign of strength to ask for help.
Remember, whenever you say yes to something, you say no to something else — often, that is your peace of mind.
#3 Budget Wisely: Financial Stress-Proofing
Money can be a significant stressor during the holidays. If you want that “perfect” holiday, overspending is easy.
Set a budget and stick to it. It’s not the price tag that makes a gift special; it is the thought behind it.