I love the warm and fuzzies the holiday season brings.
As soon as trick or treating ends, lights wrapped around trees begin to glitter the streets, Christmas movies are aired on TV, and even Starbucks’ peppermint mocha seems to taste festive. 😉 But most of all, I love getting to spend more time with my family.
I just love it!
But all this holiday cheer can also bring about stress, exhaustion and a whole lotta excess if not managed right.
Keep seasonal stress at bay by letting go of these five things this holiday season:
1. Perfection and Great Expectations
All that holiday glitter and cheer often comes with great expectations. We want the best for our families and that includes giving them the most awesome holiday ever. Needless to say, we set the bar rather high. And all the media hype and picture-perfect social media images we see doesn’t help.
The perfectionists within us just want to take over and run the show.
Whether that comes in the form of a pristine home, slaving away in the kitchen and creating that instagrammable holiday dinner table setting, scratch-making everything, spending hours finding the most perfect presents for everyone, and so on.
Let go of perfection and the high expectations you put on yourself.
It’s the quickest way to a stress-induced meltdown.
It will simply drive you nuts.
And, chances are, your kids (not even your husband) will probably notice all the intricate details of your instagram-worthy table setting you worked tirelessly to decorate.
Yes, the holidays come once a year and we want to create special memories for our families. But we don’t need to wear ourselves out trying to get everything perfect.
2. Saying “Yes” to Everything
There’s only one you. And in the next six weeks culminating to Christmas, it’s not like you’ll magically get more hours in a day.
But over the years, it seems we’ve grown accustomed to trying to do more and fill in as much of our calendars with holiday events, activities and “must-dos.”
However, more isn’t necessarily better.
This holiday season, focus on the people that truly matter to you and prioritize the traditions and experiences that are important and speak to you and your family. And don’t worry about the rest.
So, before you catch yourself committing to something, pause and think if it truly is important to you. If not, politely decline.
It’s not the number of events that fill our calendars, but the quality of those events themselves.
3. Feeling Like You Have to Do It All Yourself
While it may feel gratifying to feel like you’re Wonder Woman, you don’t have to be – and that includes the holiday season.
You don’t have to do it all yourself. Save your sanity and energy and get some help. Make a list of all the things that need to get done and see where you can delegate to lighten the load.
You can recruit the help of your husband and the kids, order take-out on nights that you have a bunch of errands to do, and skip the stores and buy your presents online (so much easier than having to ship them to relatives who are far away yourself).
The holidays are all about sharing. And that includes the things the need to get done. 😉 So, delegate away!
4. The Idea that the Holidays Justify the “Need” to Rack Up More Debt
According to a recent poll, 52% of millenials and 49% of Gen Xers are willing to tack on more debt this holiday season. And, 65% of parents with children under 18 years of age said they’d be fine with adding more credit card debt during this season as well.
Yes, we want to make memorable experiences, spread that holiday cheer and be generous over the holidays. But we don’t need to go into more debt over it.
Create a holiday budget and stick to it. This means knowing what your financial limitations are and keeping your spending within that limit.
Developing and sticking to a holiday budget forces you to prioritize the things that matter to you most and helps you avoid overspending and incurring additional debt, which you’ll have to pay for long after the holidays are over.
An added bonus with this is that we also get to teach our kids good financial discipline and being intentional with money in the process.
5. Running on Fumes
The holiday season, while sparkly and awesome, makes our already hectic lives even more hectic. And, in the hustle and bustle of trying to holiday it up, it’s easy to run on fumes without realizing it until it’s too late.
Make sure you take the time to take care of yourself during the holiday frenzy.
- Get enough rest and sleep: How in the world are you going to holiday it up if you’re exhausted? You hear it all the time because it’s true. Shut-eye is essential!
- Indulge within reason: The holidays are notorious for higher sugar and calorie in-take. Do your best to eat healthy (I know how challenging this can be) and watch what you put in your mouth. I’m not saying you have to skip all the treats (I know I’m gonna have me some peppermint mocha!) – just don’t overdo it. You’ll also save yourself the post-holiday guilt and gut in the process.
- Exercise: It’s so easy and excusable to skip working out during the holidays. I mean c’mon, it’s easy enough to skip them on normal days, right? 😉 But I know and you know that exercise is good for you. So just do it.
- Refill your cup: What rejuvenates and energizes you? Find time for that. Whether it’s some quiet time to read, coffee with friends, binging on Netflix, or having a light morning or afternoon walk, make it happen.
- Try to keep some semblance of your routine. While routines get thrown out the window during the holiday season, try to limit this. Maintaining your routines can help you better manage the extra chaos that accompanies all the holiday prep.
Related: 5 Things You Can Do This Weekend to Conquer Your Week
All this not only prevents burnout, but also helps you enjoy the holidays more because you’re well-rested and not all strung out. Aaaand, you won’t be wishing for a vacation after the holiday season is over.
So this season, stress less and holiday more by not:
- Falling prey to the pressures of perfection and great expectations
- Trying to do everything yourself
- Racking up debt (even if it is the holidays)
- Running on fumes and forgetting to take care of yourself
Instead, remember to pick your priorities and focus on what’s most important to you. Be intentional with the activities you sign up for, the experiences you choose to create and participate in, your spending and how you’ll take care of yourself.