Tips for reducing holiday stress


x_0_0_0_14109567_300The holidays will be here before you know it – and that means frequent visits with family members, a lot of traveling and, unfortunately, an increase in your stress levels. It seems that no matter what you do or how you prepare, there will come a time in the next two months that will leave you feeling overwhelmed.

Much of the stress you’ll feel during the holidays is from scheduling travel, ensuring you get time off work and gathering all the gifts, food and other essentials you need for visiting with family.

You may not realize it, but being stressed out can take a toll on your health and well-being, so you don’t want to let situations you can’t control bring you down. Whether you’re worried about giving the perfect gifts, planning a get together or trying to pencil in time to spend with family and friends, there are steps you can take to keep your holiday stress to a minimum.

5 tips for staying sane during the holidays

Manage expectations: Don’t let yourself go overboard with unrealistic expectations. Instead, make a list of your priorities and stick to them. You won’t be able to fit everything that you want to do in one visit, so you’ll have to determine what’s most important during this trip. You should also be sure to make peace with yourself if you won’t be able to meet up with a group of your high school friends because you wanted to spend time with your aging grandmother. By keeping your expectations realistic you’ll find that your stress levels don’t skyrocket.

Don’t fret over gifts: As women, it seems that we’re concerned about making sure that our friends and family are happy with the gifts we get them. However, this often causes a lot of stress because we want it to be too perfect. You should ask people what they want rather than going from store to store or searching Internet to find the perfect gift. Don’t forget to stick to your budget and shop early so you have a better selection.

Plan accordingly: If everyone is coming to you this year, you’ll want to get a head count so you can plan the family get together. Although cooking from scratch is probably what would make you happiest, you should consider buying prepared foods. Rather than making decisions on what to have on your own, ask others what their favorite dishes are or have them each bring some of their own.

Be sure to sleep: You’ll be exhausted if you don’t remember to sleep in between planning, shopping, wrapping and baking. If you’re too tired then you won’t be in the mood to socialize and enjoy the moments with your family and friends.

Don’t forget to pause: If you live far away from family and friends, the chance that you see them fairly often is probably pretty low. Most people really only get to see their friends and family this one time of the year, so rather than letting the stress get to you try pausing and enjoying the moment. Be sure to admire what’s going on around you and you’ll find that the stress starts to fade.

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