It’s the most wonderful time of the year… but it can also be one of the most stressful.
Holiday stress statistics show that up to 69-percent of people are stressed by the feeling of having a “lack of time,” 69-percent are stressed by perceiving a “lack of money,” and 51-percent are stressed out about the “pressure to give or get gifts.” The list of holiday stressors continues with the endless list of things to do including sending cards, making it to events and gatherings, planning food menus, holiday travel and you name it.
Has stress taken the fun out of your holidays? Put the “jolly” back in your holidays and create cherished Christmas memories with these proven strategies.
There are a lot of ways to reduce stress every day and we mention a few of them in our article Natural Stress Remedies that Won’t Cost You a Fortune. But the holidays seem to bring with them a whole new set of challenges that every day stress relief techniques don’t seem to conquer.
How do you reduce the stress of holiday travel, holiday gatherings, or that stressful relative that always wants to cause chaos? Well read on mom – we have more than 40 ways to reduce holiday stress right here.
Reduce Holiday Stress
- Acknowledge that everything doesn’t need to be perfect. As hard as it is, some things just may not go as planned and that’s ok.
- Start holiday planning and preparations as early as you can.
- Simplify wherever you can when planning and holding festive celebrations. For example, use paper instead of real plates. Instead of a family meal, just do fun apps or simply have desserts – everyone can bring one to share.
- Stick to your budget! It’s so easy to get caught up in all of the sales going on this time of year but if you stick to your budget now, you’ll not only be happy during the holidays but next year too!
- Scale down your holiday plans. Ask yourself how it “feels” to you. If the plans you have feel heavy and weighted, then figure out what you can get rid of to feel a little lighter and easier.
- Ponder what you really want to do to celebrate the holidays. Are you participating in traditions that really don’t need to be kept? Maybe you’re not the only one who wants to change things up but you won’t know until you ask.
- Talk with family members and friends about what they want to do… see previous bullet point.
- Plan celebrations that express what the holidays truly mean for you. Maybe that means scaling down on gifts and focusing on other activities instead. Or this might mean making it less about Santa and more about Jesus. What do you really want for your holiday celebration?
- Identify old family traditions. Which ones do you love? Amplify those, embrace them and make them beautiful. Opt to keep holiday traditions that bring you joy and happiness and give yourself permission to let go of old traditions that you aren’t fond of and don’t enjoy.
- Establish start and stop times for parties. If not formally, then agree on an end time with whomever you go with to the event.
- Take shortcuts like buying pre-made pies to save time. Try ordering pre-made meals or hiring catering services. Sometimes local grocery stores will cater on the holidays.
- Promptly ask for help when you need it! The rush of the holidays are not time to be a super mom!
- Inform all prospective attendees of your holiday plans.
- Discuss challenging issues in advance with a person who tends to create tension, or decide how you will deal with them on the day of the event if a tense situation arises. This may mean changing your schedule, opting out of certain conversations or avoiding various topics of discussion.
- If you’re hosting, consider using place cards to assign seating in efforts to avoid tension-filled holiday gatherings.
- Short-circuit disagreeable family discussions by interrupting or changing the subject. It’s helpful to have some extra discussion ideas planned out in your head to have handy.
- Make a gift list, considering the amount of money you can comfortably spend. Then adjust your gift giving list accordingly.
- Shop early and make notes about where to get low-cost gifts.
- Ask for gift suggestions from the people on your gift list.
- Consider giving gift cards to save time and precious energy. Experience gifts are a lot of fun such as gift cards to the movies or a restaurant.
- Suggest a family name-drawing to reduce gift expenditures.
- Reduce the amount of money you spend overall for the holidays and per gift. Your future self will thank you.
- Avoid making credit card purchases at holiday time. If you can, have money to pay in cash or have cash to pay off your credit cards if you use them.
- Think about making homemade food gifts to save dollars at holiday time.
- Shop early and place gifts in a special place so you’ll be ready for the holidays. Consider shopping throughout the year to reduce stress at the holidays.
- Schedule time to be with your kids for some special holiday moments.
- Keep the kids busy with holiday crafts. They’ll enjoy it and you can get more done.
- Take time daily to meditate and get some quiet time, even if only for a few minutes. It’s amazing how a few minutes of quiet meditative thought can recharge the mind!
Stress-Free Holiday Traveling
- Plan holiday travel itineraries in advance.
- Start out well rested. Don’t burn the midnight oil the night before your trip.
- Build in extra money to your travel budget in case of emergencies.
- Arrive at the airport or other station early to more easily take care of last minute challenges.
- Expect the unexpected. If you’re already in the proper mindset, then setbacks and challenges aren’t as daunting.
- Pack light and make the most of your carry-on bag.
- Allow extra time to travel from place to place and expect heavy traffic. That way you’ll be prepared if it’s bad and pleasantly surprised if it’s not.
- Send your gifts in advance or take gift cards.
- Limit alcohol and caffeine.
- Pack plenty of healthy snacks that travel well without refrigeration.
- Bring plenty of things to keep the kids happily occupied.
- Make waiting times go faster and regain a happy holiday feeling by meditating or reciting your favorite bible verse or affirmation.
- Consider having a favorite picture on your smartphone or tablet that you can look at when times are rough, to calm your mind and ease tension.
- Plan to arrive at your holiday destination rested and excited to share your holidays with loved ones.
Meditate During Holiday Travel
- Sit up straight and relax your shoulders
- Let distracting thoughts dissolve away as you focus on deep breathing
- Think about your destination and the loved ones you’ll be visiting
- Remember that you’re surrounded by people making similar plans – just like you
- Once you’re feeling relaxed and happy, let go of the details and enjoy that warm feeling
- Imagine wrapping up those good feelings and presenting them to everyone around you
- Gradually return your attention to the present moment
- Remind yourself of the fellowship you felt while meditating