Keep From Going Christmas Crazy: How To Reduce Your Christmas Stress
Often the holidays leave us overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted. With all the cooking, shopping, decorating, and planning that Christmas requires there is little time left to actually enjoy this special season the way that it is truly meant to be enjoyed. Many of us overwhelm ourselves with what has to be done, bought, and prepared in order to make Christmas perfect-this tends to leave us tired and stressed! Usually by the time we come up for air, it's all over. We realize to late that Christmas has come and gone without ever feeling like it was there at all. Yes, stress stole the show once again!
According to a recent study by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research 61% of those surveyed felt more stress during the holiday season than any other time of year. The study also revealed that women are more likely than men to feel a greater amount of stress during the holidays. This is due, in part, to the added responsibilities that occur during the holiday season, especially around Christmas.
Such stress prevents us from obtaining the happiness that usually surrounds Christmas, the happiness that we deserve. In order to re-gain a Christmas full of laughter and cheer without the overwhelming stress there are a few minor steps you can take that just may lower your Christmas stress level and prevent you from going Christmas crazy.
Start planning now, don't wait until the last minute. So much stress and anxiety is created by being unprepared. So start making decisions as soon as possible. Where will you spend Christmas, what events and holiday parties will you need to attend, who will host Christmas dinner, who do you need to buy for, etcâ¦
Lists are a lifesaver, especially at Christmas. You'll want to stay organized. Organization is the key to success with less stress. Make lists for everything, what events and dinners you need to attend, who will be coming to Christmas dinner, what food items do you need, who you need to shop for, what they want and where to buy it. Writing all of these things down will keep you on tract and help decrease the stress and craziness.
Also, when you go Christmas shopping never leave home without your list. In between pumpkin pie and gift boxes your bound to forget almost everything else you needed. You know what I'm talking about: you walk in to shop, you have your cart, and your standing there completely forgetting what you needed in the first place. You don't want this to happen during the holidays, believe me!
A great deal of Christmas stress comes from shopping. While shopping is usually an enjoyable event, around Christmas it's not so enjoyable. It can get overwhelming, we have these huge lists and not enough time or money. One way to de-stress the shopping component of Christmas is to try and split your shopping days up. Instead of one or two solid days try a few hours every week for the month of December. It is also always a great idea to try and shop early, start in the summer or shop a little here and there all year long. This will be a huge weight off your shoulders come Christmas. Then you can focus less on shopping and more on other things, like spending time with family and those you love. This is also a lot less stressful in terms of finances around Christmas. The more you buy during the year the less you have to come up with at Christmas; the less money you have to come up with at Christmas, the less stress you feel.
Money does indeed, cause us the most stress in relation to shopping at Christmas because often our list of people to buy for, far exceeds our budgets. We want to buy for everyone but the truth is we often cant. Don't feel like you have to go overboard. If you cant afford it, you cant afford it. Get what you can and nothing more. Putting yourself into debt over Christmas is only going to add to your stress. Furthermore, it will allow that stress to follow you and the debt you obtained into the new year. Most times it's best to be honest, especially with family. Let them know that you just cant afford it and ask if they would instead mind drawing names. Drawing names is actually quite fun, it's surprising and different than the normal gift giving process. If you have friends with kids you could discuss just buying for each others children instead of buying for the entire family. There are a lot of little ways to cut costs during the holidays. Most importantly, remember that Christmas is ultimately about being together. Come Christmas morning those hours spent buying and shopping will be ripped to shreds in a few short minutes so don't put so much emphasis on the gifts. It's a great time to teach our children about giving, not giving gifts that come in boxes but giving gifts that come from the heart.
Believe it or not, you don't have to do everything on your own. Maybe you don't think it wont get done right unless you do it yourself, or maybe you just don't like asking for help. Whatever the reason, let it go. Split the workload. Having less on your plate will give you more time to enjoy the season and the happiness it holds instead of spending it busy and stressed.
Celebrate the Season
Find time to really celebrate what the season is about and what it means to you. Take it all in, every minute of it. Do something festive every chance you get. Bake cookies and pies, watch Christmas movies, drink hot chocolate and drive around looking at Christmas lights, go and watch a play about the story of Christmas, do something kind and unexpected for someone less fortunate. All of these things, and many more, can create great holiday happiness and help us to focus on things greater than the stresses that often bring us down at Christmas.
Eat, Sleep, And Be Good To Yourself
Stress alone is hard on your health. You are twice as likely to get sick when you are experiencing high levels of stress in your life because stress lowers your immune system. Therefore, it is crucial to take care of yourself during this time. Be sure to get adequate amounts of healthy food, sleep, and exercise. Without these you are further jeopardizing your health.
Last but not least, breath. Everything is going to work out, it always does. Just take a step back when you feel overwhelmed, look at what is going on around you and make sure you don't let the Christmas stress consume you again this year. You don't want one more year to pass you by leaving you feeling like you missed out on magical moments and memories once again. Let this be the year that you control your Christmas stress instead of letting it control you. Happy Holidays!