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By taking some simple steps you can minimize the amount of stress you feel this year. Here are five ways you can beat holiday stress:
Rein in your expectationsKnow that it’s okay if your holiday is not a series of seamless greeting card moments. The holidays are about making good memories, not about being perfect. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by romanticizing the holidays. Instead, make a list of traditions you feel you can and want to uphold.
Set a budget and stick to itThe holidays can get really expensive. To avoid the January panic attack when all your bills come in, set a holiday budget for gifts, food and alcohol. When you go shopping, leave your credit cards at home and pay for everything in cash. This way you won’t overspend on accident.
Don’t overdo itDon’t push yourself too hard. With the parties, holiday parades and kids’ performances, there’s a lot going on at this time of year. Understand that you don’t have to do it all. Know your limits and when to say no.
Treat yourselfMany of us are so focused on pleasing others during the holidays that our own needs end up on the backburner. Whenever possible, take some time out of your busy schedule and do something you enjoy. Go to the movies, go out for hot chocolate or get a manicure to help you relieve some stress.
Don’t be afraid to ask for helpYou don’t have to take on the holidays by yourself. Reach out to your partner/spouse and ask them to help you cook, clean and buy gifts. If your anxiety becomes too much for you to deal with, consider talking with your doctor or a mental health professional.
The holidays do not have to be a stressful time. These tips can help you manage your levels of holiday stress so that your holidays can be a joyful and festive time.
Originally published December 1, 2014; revised 2020
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