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Christmas: Reduce Holiday Stress

We don’t know about you but we can’t believe it’s December already! It’s no secret that things can get overwhelming around the silly season. It’s supposed to be a time of catching up with friends and family, relaxing and celebrating, but for many, Christmas can cause overwhelming stress, especially when it comes to our time and money. The more strain you put on yourself, your family and your bank account, the less room you’ll have to truly enjoy the magic of the season. To help get us through it, we’ve put together some advice to help reduce stress and make the season more enjoyable.

No. 1: Make a Christmas Budget

We know this is the most obvious advice but honestly, knowing exactly where you stand with money can help reduce stress so much. If you haven’t already done it, try to take some time to think about all your Christmas expenses and write down exactly how much you will spend. 

Make a plan and don’t blow it! Avoid impulse spending and when you max out your budget, that’s it! You’re done. Be sure to include all the parties you want to go to and the cost of gifts, food and decorations.

No. 2: Make a list

…And check it twice. Maybe you have a mental list of everything you need to do and when you need to do it but it’s always helpful to have a written list or calendar to get it out of your head and to see the big picture. If you need to send a package abroad by a certain date, write that down or put it in your phone. If your relatives have an annual bash, write that down.

The point of this is to see everything in one place so you can get a clear idea of what’s happening, where it’s happening and when. Don’t like how it’s looking? Reorganise your calendar and your to-do list to reflect the Christmas you want to have this year. Remember, you are in control!

No. 3: Avoid Over-committing

Most likely, your December schedule includes social invitations, maybe deadlines in work or commitments elsewhere and as well as those of your family.  You don’t have to do everything on your calendar. Remember, you can’t clone yourself and be everywhere at the same time. You can only attend so many family dinners, drive so far, and give so much. Just like your money, you have limits with your time.

Be honest and reasonable about what you can handle and speak up if it’s too much to juggle. Instead of going to five Christmas gatherings, pick one or two. You don’t want to burn out before Christmas Day! Prioritise your family’s time and only commit to what suits you. It’s all about quality, not quantity. 

Don’t let too many commitments throw your daily routine. Stick to your rituals and try to keep as much of your normal routine in place as you can during the scattered schedule of the Christmas season. If your average day starts with getting up, making yourself a cuppa and catching up on your morning social media scroll, don’t skip that. Having some routine can help keep you calm and focused on the day ahead.

No. 4: Don’t leave things until the last minute

Putting something off until the last minute is rarely a good idea. Christmas shopping is the perfect example of that! A lot of people wait until halfway through December or later and then dash to the shops in a panic to buy gifts. This is a recipe for stress – finding parking, finding the right gift – and it can also put huge strain on your bank account as you are most likely to make impulse decisions with money.

Keep it simple! It might be easier to spread your to-do list over the course of the month to avoid it feeling like a chore.

No. 6: Avoid Conflict

Okay, we know this one is tricky to navigate, especially around the holidays. We all have family members who push our buttons. Instead of going to the family event and trying to master the fine art of biting your tongue, how about just avoiding certain topics and removing yourself from certain conversations?

Believe it or not, it can be done. You don’t have to subject yourself or your family to a heated argument – protect yourself by setting boundaries and sticking with them.

No. 7: Make time for YOU

You matter. Schedule yourself in some YOU time. Make time to wind down and enjoy the things you love. Read a book. Catch up on your favourite Netflix shows. Or dive into one of those cheesy (but you can’t look away) Hallmark Christmas movies. 

No. 8: Remember what Christmas is all about

Christmas time is supposed to be filled with joy and thankfulness. Not expensive gifts, late nights and spending time with people you don’t want to be around. Slow down and think about what you really want to do this season. Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle that leaves you feeling burnout. By starting early, you’ll be able to have a merry—and much less stressful—Christmas!

And finally…..

Remember, if stress becomes too much, tell someone. Don’t struggle on your own until the whole month passes in a blur. Finding a positive, healthy way to manage your stress could reduce many related but avoidable adverse health consequences.

For more tips on how to manage stress, download our 3Ts Self Help Guide on Stress