Tips for managing holiday stress

Woman in stress about Christmas holidays

This time of year should be a source of joy and happiness but in the midst of the decorating, shopping, cooking and the numerous holiday parties, the stress of all of it can often overcome the enjoyment factor. The overwhelming pressure for perfection we put on ourselves can quickly turn the holiday season into a dreaded time of year instead of what it should be – time to spend and show appreciation to all of the wonderful people in our lives.

So, we’re offering up a few tips for making this time of year a little less stressful:

Set realistic expectations

This one is probably the most important. Thanks to social media, we see pictures of elaborately decorated houses, homemade gifts and complicated (although delicious looking) holiday dishes for you to try.

Let’s be real – who actually has the time for all of that? In the midst of the holiday season, there’s still all the daily “real life” type things we have to accomplish – work, kids activities, laundry, grocery shopping and the list goes on and on.

There’s only so much time in the day so we suggest giving yourself a break and being honest with yourself about what you actually have time for. The old saying “it’s the thought that counts” definitely applies here!

Make a list (and check it twice for tip #1)

When you start thinking about all you have to accomplish including the long list of people to buy for, the holiday party invitations and the cooking you have to do, it’s enough to send anyone over the edge. Things become much more manageable when you make a list and break everything down into manageable chunks. Going back to tip #1, make a list for each day and cross things off as you do them. The relief you’ll feel when you start physically crossing things off your list will slowly start relieving some of that anxiety. 

Enlist the help of experts

Repeat after us, “help” is NOT A four letter word. Again with tip #1 (we told you it was the most important!), maybe the homemade gifts you’d envisioned last month aren’t actually doable. Guess what? That’s OK! Instead do  your shopping at local boutiques where you’ll find unique items for the people on your list and receive extra customer service from the store associates who are personally vested in helping you find the perfect gift for everyone on your list.

And when it comes to the holiday cooking, here’s a little secret, you don’t have to do it all yourself. There are these wonderful places called restaurants that can help you out. Pick one or two things you really want to cook yourself and then enlist the help of some of your favorite restaurants for all the rest.

Take time for yourself

These last two tips are ALL ABOUT YOU. Yes, this is the season of giving and doing things for others but you’ll be of no use to anyone if you don’t practice a little self care. So whether it’s hitting up a yoga class or getting a massage, manicure or a blowout before one of the many holiday parties on your agenda, do at least one thing for yourself. You deserve it!

Don’t forget to put yourself on your holiday list

Consider it your reward for surviving the stress of your season and buy one (or more!) thing(s) for yourself. After all, the only way to really get what you want is to buy it yourself, right?

And here’s our gift to you – a resource list for many of the things we’ve talked about: