Manage holiday stress—starting now!
It may only be early November, but it’s never too late to start planning for your holiday events and celebrations. We all know the amount of work that can go into even the simplest dinner party, and the holidays are often anything but simple. So get yourself organized now so you can enjoy a holiday season that’s as stress-free as possible.
One of the first things you should do is get comfortable with the fact that no holiday is ever perfect. Little glitches can happen no matter how carefully you’ve planned every last detail. Your family and guests will remember the effort you put into making their holiday wonderful—not the little things that might have gone sideways.
The following tips and suggestions may help you avoid the panic of the last-minute rush:
- Shop early. If you have room to store gifts, shop for them as early as you can. This allows you to take advantage of sales as they pop up, and means you can avoid the crowds later on. Online shopping is a great option too, and shopping early means you won’t have to worry about items not being delivered in time.
- Wrap early. Wrapping your presents as you buy them means you won’t have to spend hours wrapping them all at once, right before the big day.
- Buy non-perishable food now. Plan your holiday menus early and start shopping for non-perishable food items right now. Not only can you can take advantage of coupons and sales when you shop early, but you’ll also be able to spread out your spending rather than doing one, big expensive shop days before the holiday.
- Delegate. Women often take on too much, and become solely responsible for creating the perfect holiday for everyone else. Stop that cycle right now. If you have a spouse, children, or even grandchildren, give them all chores and tasks so they can take some of the burden off of your shoulders. It will still be magical even if others have to pitch in—and it will be more magical for you!
- Cut back. If physical or mental health issues are a problem for you this year, don’t do as much as you normally do. Plan to cut back, and do it without an ounce of guilt. Your health is more important than setting the perfect table or cooking a seven-course meal.
- Check your schedule. Jot down all of your holiday-related obligations—parties, concerts, drop-ins, dinners, family events, charitable work—on your calendar so you know exactly how much free time you’ll have to work on holiday tasks the closer you get to the big day. While you’re building your schedule, make sure to block off some time each day to rest, relax, and do something just for you; even if it’s just for 15 minutes.
- Be kind to yourself if you’re grieving. Know that holidays can be difficult if you’ve suffered a loss during the previous year, or even years ago. Accept that you’ll feel both sorrow and joy at this time of year, and that both are okay. For more coping strategies, read our article on navigating grief during the holidays.
- Make lists. Gift lists, to-do lists, holiday meal shopping lists, decorating check lists—write whatever lists will help you feel organized and keep you on top of the tasks you hope to accomplish. Check out sites like Christmas Organized Home or Seaside Sundays for free, printable list templates that can help you with everything from decorating to holiday budget planning. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, these can still help you plan for the holidays you do celebrate.
- Manage your mental health. The holidays can be challenging for a number of reasons. Family issues, health problems, budget woes—these can all make it seem more difficult to enjoy what is supposed to be the happiest time of the year. Make sure you’re not sabotaging your mental health, and read our article on managing stress for advice that can help you cope.
Knowing that your holiday celebrations aren’t going to break your household budget is another really great way to keep your stress level down. Figure out how much you have to spend on holiday gifts, food, and travel now so you won’t be drowning in bills you can’t afford to pay later.
Wishing you a happy and stress-free holiday!
417410F CAN/US (11/19)