The festive season can quickly become the most stressful time of the year when managing holiday expectations and your daily routine. While you may want to aspire for perfection, setting realistic and attainable goals is essential. These goals might include creating a holiday budget and sticking to it, finding the best time to shop, and practicing self-love. So while you are holiday shopping, treat yourself to a spa manicure, an indulgent lunch, or a new lab coat for work, and feel the holiday stress slip away. Learn more simple tips to help minimize holiday stress so you can relax and enjoy the festive season with your loved ones.
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1. Keep Comfortable
One way to make the most of this special time is by wearing comfortable clothes so you can truly relax. That means saving your best outfits for when you go to holiday parties and, instead, opting for comfortable clothes like jogger scrubs for women when you are at home with family or relaxing with friends.
Joggers and scrubs are the perfect choices for days spent lounging around at home or running errands. They’re also great for travel because they’re comfortable enough to wear on long flights or car rides. Joggers can also be easily dressed up or down. This makes them versatile enough to wear for many holiday activities, from walking around your neighborhood to see the Christmas lights to baking holiday cookies or when shopping.
2. Create a Schedule
There are so many things to do during the holiday season, from decorating the house to buying gifts to sending out cards. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and miss out on things that make the holidays special. Planning is critical to reducing last-minute holiday stress. Creating a schedule of the activities and tasks you need to do throughout the holidays can help you manage your time more effectively.
Sit down with your family about six weeks before Christmas to brainstorm a list of everything you’ll need to do to get ready. Once you have your list, start assigning tasks and due dates. Make sure to build in some flexibility so you’re not stressed if things don’t go according to plan. And most importantly, don’t forget to schedule some time for fun! By taking a little time to plan, you’ll know exactly what you need to do and when, and you’ll be less likely to get caught up in the holiday frenzy.
3. Budget Effectively
Overspending and credit card debt are significant sources of holiday stress. A 2022 APA Survey on Stress in America found that two-thirds of Americans are stressed about money. With Americans spending an average of $998 on gifts, food, and decorations, the holidays are the peak time for financial stress.
If you want to enjoy a stress-free holiday, budgeting is critical. Begin by making a list of all the people you need to buy gifts for, along with an estimate of how much you’re willing to spend on each person. Then, set aside money for other holiday expenses like food, decorations, and travel. Once you have a budget in place, stick to it. This may mean getting creative with your gift giving or saying no to some holiday events. To save money on gifts, try playing Secret Santa with family this year; you’ll only need to buy one gift. Or shop Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales to find the best deals on gifts from your list.
4. Plan Your Holiday Meals
Many people feel pressure to provide an unforgettable holiday meal. However, the stress of shopping and cooking for the holidays can leave hosts feeling burnt out. One of the best ways to eliminate holiday cooking stress is to plan ahead and cook as much as possible in the days before your holiday meal.
Plan to shop for your holiday meals at least a week early; many ingredients, like turkeys and hams, can be frozen and thawed. This will give you plenty of time to find the best deals and ensure you have all the necessary ingredients. Start preparing as many meal components as possible early. Desserts like cookies, brownies, and cheesecakes can be frozen, as can many side dishes like stuffing and gravy. Start chopping vegetables, marinating meat, or making sauces one to two days ahead so you can enjoy the festivities with your family and guests.
5. Take Time for Self-Care
The holidays are a busy time for everyone. Between work, family, and social obligations, it can be tough to find time for yourself. However, taking a little time to relax and indulge in some self-care can help you enjoy the holiday season more. Whether reading your favorite holiday book while sipping on some whiskey-spiked hot cocoa or indulging in your favorite holiday sweets, taking a moment to do something you enjoy can help you recharge and get into the holiday spirit.
6. Get Enough Sleep
One of the biggest challenges during the holiday season is maintaining a good sleep schedule. With all the extra parties and events, it’s easy to stay up late and sleep later than usual. However, this can have a big impact on your stress levels. Without adequate sleep, your body can’t recover from the day’s activities, leading you to feel run-down and making it harder to enjoy the holiday season. If you want to make the most of this time, focusing on getting a minimum of eight hours of sleep is important.
Try to maintain your sleep schedule and practice good sleep hygiene. Switch off electronics at least an hour before bed and avoid falling asleep on the sofa to your favorite holiday movie. Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature and humidity, and resist the temptation to crank up the thermostat to combat the cold outside.
7. Ask for Help
Trying to do everything yourself during the holidays is guaranteed to make you feel stressed and run down — delegate tasks like cleaning and gift wrapping to your partner or another family member. Or, ask family members to help you with the holiday cooking and baking, which can also be a fun bonding experience. You can also ask family and friends to bring sides or desserts to holiday events or to help clean up.
Relax and Enjoy the Holiday Season
While the holidays can be some of the most fun times of the year, the disruption to your regular routine and the added pressure and social expectations of the season can quickly lead to stress and burnout. It’s crucial to understand your physical, mental, and emotional limitations around the holidays so you can reduce your stress levels and enjoy everything the festive season has to offer.