The holiday season used to be everyone’s favorite time of the year.
It still is, for most of us. Holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas usually equal festive parties, delicious recipes and the much needed time off from work.
But for some it’s becoming less and less joyous and more stressful.
Whether finances, family dynamics or other worries are at play, not everyone is excited about the added stresses that the holidays can bring.
Reasons why holidays can become a load of stress
1. Work-life balance
For some of us, before being able to detach from the office chaos, there are tons of deadlines to meet. If you are living a regular 9 to 5 or are in college, life is usually the toughest as Christmas approaches.
Annual reports, project deadlines and finals mixed with holiday planning and gift shopping, the stress can easily sky-rocket.
2. The perfectionist tendencies
One of the most common reasons of holidays turning into horrors is the unrealistic expectations of a “perfect” holiday.
Big meals, fancy decors, travel plans, thoughtful gifts…We all have our own interpretation of how Christmas or any special occasion should be. And our own definition of perfect holidays can be emotionally and financially demanding.
3. Holidays make tough times tougher
When you are sad, in grief or simply feeling down, holidays may put extra burden on the shoulder.
TV, magazines and social media are flooded with the picture-perfect holiday scenes, which makes surviving the holiday depression even tougher.
7 tips to beat holiday stress and turn hassles into joy
1.Manage your expectations
Before jumping on Pinterest for holiday inspirations, take a moment to ask yourself and your family the most fundamental question: What you enjoy the most during holidays?
This question will help to clarify the unrealistic expectations and hopes towards holiday prep.
It will also help you understand the need of each family member so you don’t need to suffer from the false guilt of missing some of the “should do’s”.
Just because the holidays are here, does not mean there is an obligation to overextend ourselves.
2. Have a game plan and start early
Now you know what everyone wants and what you can neglect from holiday preparations, it’s time to have a plan for everything.
Start by marking events on your calendar to set up a basic frame of your schedule. Then include items like holiday decorations, grocery shopping, cooking and gift hunting.
If you have unresolved chores, bills, family relationships that are strained or projects that are unfinished, do everything you can to get them managed before the holidays set in.
In this way you’ll be less likely to suffer from the “last-minute” stress that may ruin your holiday spirit and break your budget.
3. Compromise if needed
Not all Christmas houses will be looking like one of those in Elle Decor. And a Martha Stewart kind of dinner is not a must for every family.
Invest your time in the essential things that you and your family enjoy, like family game nights, holiday trips and whatever interest you. Sometimes a simplified version of holiday is the best holiday.
4. Little breaks can do wonder
When you’re busy, it’s hard to actually enjoy the fun little things that the holiday season has to offer. Challenge yourself to spare at least half an hour a day for self-care or simply to treat yourself.
Take a relaxing walk in the neighborhood listening to your favorite holiday playlist. Treat yourself with a piece of chocolate or cookie to go with a cup of herbal tea. Spend 10 minutes to meditate and leave everything behind.
Sometimes pulling yourself out from the holiday ambiance will be a magical and powerful stress buster.
5. Work as a team
You are not Santa, so don’t attempt to create a perfect holiday on your own. And you shouldn’t feel ashamed to ask for help.
Make a list of all the things that need to be done, and decide who is in charge of each item.
Ask your husband to do the grocery shopping or have your kids to write the greeting cards and wrapping gifts. Learn to delegate both at the office and at home.
Holiday is all about sharing, not only love and joy, but also responsibilities.
6. Declutter before holiday begins
The place we live is a reflection of our mind. When it is cluttered, our brain gets messy and our plans are just all over the place.
So 2 or 3 weeks before holiday season actually arrives, clean your home or have a service come in and get things on track. Head to the dump, have a garage sale or donate to the thrift store.
7. Admit it, holidays can suck anyway
Yes, they can, and there’s nothing wrong about it.
Holidays won’t magically make all the pain go away. If you’re recently had a breakup, lost someone or are having your first Christmas away from home, it’s perfectly normal and healthy to be sad, homesick or lonely.
But holiday is just another day. It’s not a magic pill. So there’s no need to push yourself in a good mood.
Feel free to cry, to be mad or to do nothing. Let your emotions out. Talk to someone you trust if needed. And remember, those that love you will not blame you for “ruining the holiday spirit”.
Turning hassles into happiness can be simple if you implement these holiday destress techniques.
Focus on experiences rather than physical things. Value relationships better than activities. And you’ll be truly enjoying holiday as you always should.