The holidays are meant to be happy, so why are they filled with hassles and headaches? From fighting crowds to wrapping gifts to attending countless parties, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle of the season. All of the stress can take the fun out of this wonderful time of the year and wreak havoc on your health. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With all that you do for everyone else throughout this season of giving, you deserve to give yourself the gift of stress-free holidays. Try these simple tips to make the most of this festive time with the least amount of stress.
- Get An Early Start
The more you get done ahead of time, the less stress you’ll have when the holidays are here. Buy gifts as early as possible to avoid crowded malls and save yourself from last-minute shopping trips. Stock up on holiday cards, batteries and entertaining essentials so you’re not running from store to store when the shelves are getting empty. And write all of your holiday events and obligations clearly on the calendar to keep your schedule from getting too full.
- Take Gift Wrapping Off Your List
Most of us get so wrapped in the season that we’re left with a pile of gifts and hours of wrapping to do. Why bother when there are so many places to get them wrapped for free? Some stores clearly advertise the service, while others are more discreet, but are happy to wrap if you ask. You can also find kiosks in malls run by non-profit organizations that will wrap your gifts for a small fee. These booths are a great way to save time and give to a worthy cause.
- Have Someone Else Do The Cooking
You don’t have to spend hours shopping and chopping to make holiday meals from scratch. Today, there are all kinds of kitchen short-cuts that can take the work and worry out of your holiday meals. Pick up pies from your neighborhood bakery. Order batches of cookies online. Bring in appetizers and sides from your local market. Or call your favorite restaurant to cater the whole meal. If you prefer to do the cooking, take guests up on their offers to bring something for the table. Spending less time in the kitchen means more time with family and guests.
- Keep It Simple
Do you find yourself over-scheduling, overspending and over-doing during the holidays? You’re not alone. But you don’t have to go over your limits to make the season special. Try taking a simple approach instead. Let others throw fancy parties and go all out with decorations. You don’t have to impress anyone. After all, the holidays should be about keeping beloved traditions, not keeping up with the Joneses.
- Take Care Of Yourself
You always spend the holidays taking care of everyone, yet often neglect yourself. But you deserve the love and attention that you give to your friends and family. Set aside some time just for you and do something you enjoy. Take a soothing bath. Go for a walk around the neighborhood. Treat yourself to lunch with a friend. Or simply take a nap. These little private moments will keep you relaxed and energized throughout the busy season.
- Have Some Fun
With all of your holiday obligations, it’s easy to forget that the season is a time to let loose and celebrate. Get dressed up for a party. Watch classic movies with your family. Sing holiday songs in the car. And laugh for hours with old friends. You have the right to enjoy the holidays as much as everyone else.
While fruitcake and ugly sweaters will always be part of the season, stress doesn’t need to come in that package. Start a new tradition of bringing joy, cheer and happiness home for the holidays.