The Holidays are Coming, Make Sure to Find Some Balance
With the holidays looming ahead, how can you find the balance between work, preparing for the holidays, family obligations, and finding time for yourself? That cup of coffee or tea might be just what you need.
To cut down on stress, try lowering your expectations. You've heard of "keeping up with the Joneses?" This year, don't do it. Don't worry about what others have or what others are doing. Do what is best for you and your family. If that means cutting back on gifts, decorations, events, or travel, then so be it.
Change It Up
If tradition is stressing you out, change what you do. Cooking a big Thanksgiving dinner can be extremely draining. Make the menu smaller this year. Maybe try buying pre-cooked items from the local grocery store. Or, choose to go out for dinner instead. If you host the holidays at your house every year, ask if someone else can host this year instead.
Ask For Assistance
Make this holiday season truly about everyone. Include your loved ones in all aspects of the festivities. But don't be vague about it. Be sure to be specific about what you need. Ask your significant other to put up the decorations or your siblings to bring the sides and desserts this year. Get together with a couple of friends to do the baking. People don't mind helping out, they just need to know how they can do so.
The holidays often come with a full schedule. Feel free to say no to some of the events. You can really run yourself down, and possibly even get sick, trying to keep up with it all. Pick and choose which parties you really want to go to and don't worry about the others.
Once you get to the party, make sure you don't stay longer than you're comfortable with. If just dropping by for a few minutes is all you can do, that's okay. Everyone understands that there is a lot going on during the holidays. Just make sure to find the host and say your hellos before heading out. Having a plan ahead of time can help relieve your stress.
Budget Your Money
Didn't the Grinch teach us that the holidays are about people, not things? This holiday, instead of stressing out over buying all the gifts for everyone, set a budget and stick to it. If you are exchanging gifts with family, decide as a group on a modest amount to spend. You might even follow what some families do and draw names from a hat (or bowl) for your gift exchange. Having only one person to buy for is much more manageable than buying something for everyone.
Forget The Perfect Gift
This holiday season, don't worry about running all over town or spending hours online searching for the perfect gift. Buy a few gift cards for those hard to buy for people on your list. We have a few ideas as well.
Avoid the Crowds
Instead of hitting the stores, do your shopping online. Through the past year, stores have gotten a lot of practice and have just about perfected the art of either shipping to your home or curbside delivery. Take advantage of these options instead of aimlessly wandering the aisles in the busy stores. Bonus, you can enjoy a hot cup of coffee or tea while shopping!
Follow Your Usual Routine
As best as you can, keep to your regular routine. Not only is this healthier for you, but it is also beneficial to the rest of the household. Break up all of your responsibilities into smaller, "bite-size" tasks over the course of the next couple of months. This will help you to keep an even disposition.
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
Eat sensibly during the holidays. At home, keep healthy snacks around. Try cooking ahead of time if possible, and don't overdo it when you do go to parties. Drink plenty of water, especially when enjoying a cocktail or two. Speaking of cocktails, don't go overboard. And if you do happen to have one too many, be sure to have a plan for getting home. And, if you do overindulge, don't beat yourself up over it. Let it go and get back on track tomorrow.
Try to keep your exercise routine during this time of year as well. You know that exercising can elevate your mood so try not to miss your scheduled sessions. If you miss a session or know you won't be able to make one, try to squeeze in a little yoga or some stretches during lunch, first thing in the morning, or after work.
If things are getting a little stressful, try meditating, reading a book, or crafting. These activities can help you to relax and take a needed break from the hustle and bustle.
Kids and Pets
The holidays can be stressful for other members of the household. Be sure to keep them in mind when making plans. For example, keeping to your normal schedule as much as possible is good not only for you but also for your children and pets.
Enjoy The Holidays
Finally, enjoy the holidays. Watch some of your favorite holiday movies with the family. Bake some sugar cookies with the kids. Take an evening to drive through the neighborhood and enjoy the lights. Slow down and remember what the season is really about. Spending time with those you love. Remember that cup of coffee or tea? This is the perfect time to enjoy it with a friend or a family member. Whether in person, on the phone, or online, taking a break to chat with a loved one can make everyone's day.