Holidays can be the most stressful time of year. Expectations are high and wives/mothers feel the pressure to create the perfect holiday experience for everyone else. Some can pull it off flawlessly but if you’re like me, this time of year brings stress along with the joy. My way of dealing with stress is to plan! I hate surprises so planning helps me to relax and know that it’s all going to be OK. Here are my recommendations.
Create a holiday budget
Money, or the lack of it, can cause tension and stress. Avoid it by creating a holiday budget. First determine how much you can afford to spend. Make sure to include all of your holiday expenses. It’s more than the gifts! Don’t forget food, decorations, holiday cards & postage, party attire and whatever else you need to prepare. I use a handy Excel spreadsheet template for holiday budgets. You can download it here and it’s free.
Make a list and check it twice
As part of your budgeting figure out who will receive gifts and what type. I like to start with categories – gift purchase, DIY gift, gift card, holiday card. List your family, friends, and others that you may want to include. Don’t forget teachers, bus drivers, hairdresser, and others who have helped and supported you during the year. Now assign them a category as part of the budgeting process. If you’re close to blowing your budget, consider dropping people from the gift purchase category to the DIY craft category. This saves money but keeps them on the list. Easy, right?
Divide and Conquer
Life feels stressful when you don’t have enough time to get things done. The root cause is taking on more than you can handle. We women often try to do it all alone because no one can do it as well as we can. Well that’s partially true. 🙂 Throw out your perfectionist hat and ask for help. Instead of doing all the cooking during the holidays, make it a pot luck affair. Split the to-do list with your husband or your kids if they are old enough. The key to less stress is having enough time to relax and knowing that work will stll get don without you.
By far, the easiest and least stressful way to shop is online. No longer do you have to drive from store to store to find what you need. You can find the exact item in the color and size you need and have it shipped to your front door. Think 10 minutes rather than 4 hours.
Another benefit is being able to track your spending. If you’re an Amazon shopper, you have only to check your recent orders to know how much you’ve spent. Returns are also super easy when shopping online. It’s possible to print return labels and just drop off at the nearest UPS or PostNet.
Take time for you!
Don’t forget to take care of YOU during this hectic time of year. Exercise is a great stress reliever. If hitting the gym is too much, just take a walk. Also consider some quiet meditation or alone time with a good book. Try not to think of problems, things to do or how things can go wrong. Clear your mind and focus on gratitude. Not only will you feel better but you’ll able to enjoy the season while creating lasting memories…and that’s what the holidays are all about.