It’s the most wonderful time of the year…except sometimes it’s not. No matter what you celebrate, the holidays come with its own special stressors to which hardly any of us are immune. The days are shorter, the year is ending, and the pressure to host and attend parties, buy gifts, put on our winter tires, donate to charities, and visit family can quickly become overwhelming. Here are some easy tips to help reduce your stress this holiday season.
1. Accept That You Can’t Do it All
The more you try to squeeze in that doctors appointment while shopping for gifts, on the same day that you’re supposed to catch up with an old friend and go to your child’s Christmas play, the more stressed out you’ll be. Fitting in so many activities during your day allows for zero margin of error and forces you to be moving at all times. If you don’t take a minute to sit down and take pause, you’ll be miserable. Decide which activities can be postponed until after the new year.
2. Avoid the Malls Altogether
Shopping during the holidays isn’t stressful, it’s utter chaos. The closer you get to December 25th, the more horrible your shopping experience will be. If you celebrate Christmas (or even if you don’t), try to stay away from the malls. The long lines, the pushy sales people, and the general frantic hustle and bustle of other shoppers can really get you down. Here’s how you can avoid the malls altogether.
- Shop online. Make sure you shop well before shipping deadlines so that you have enough time to wrap your gifts. (Nothing is less stressful than shopping in your pajamas!)
- Start your holiday shopping early. Most stores put their Christmas wares onto the shelves months in advance. Buy early and avoid the insanity of last-minute shopping.
3. Practice Gratitude
The majority of us forget to practice gratitude. Our need to buy things rather than be thankful for what we already have can be summarized by Black Friday, which happens to fall right after Thanksgiving. But practicing gratitude during a time of excessive—and some might say, necessary—spending can put your life into perspective and has actually proven to benefit you physically and emotionally.
According to Forbes, actively being grateful reduces depression and leads to increased physical health. And if you celebrate Christmas, gratitude reminds us that the true meaning of the season is about peace on earth and goodwill. By being grateful for what we have, our priorities will begin to shift, and we will no longer feel stressed to complete the things that don’t really matter.