Relieve Holiday Stress

Relieve Holiday Stress

The holidays should be a time of love, sharing, festivities and spending time with loved ones. All too often the holidays are full of so many chores such as cleaning, cooking, baking, decorating, planning, organizing, shopping and wrapping that it can be a little overwhelming for many. Vow to relieve holiday stress this year by recognizing what triggers your stress and find ways to alleviate it.

If you feel like the holidays are just too stressful to enjoy and you'd like to relieve holiday stress, read on for these tips that will help you stay calm, look forward to the holidays and to enjoy all that the holidays have to offer.

Take Steps to Relieve Holiday Stress:

Often times, holiday stress comes on when we feel overwhelmed with too much to do on our to-do lists, feel like our chores will never get done and we don't have the time to spend with our loved ones as we'd like to do during the holidays.

Try this exercise to determine if doing your chores in steps can help you complete all the work you want done and give you ample time to spend with those you love and enjoy the holidays without the stress associated with them.

Create a List:

The first step in relieving holiday stress is to sit down and create a list of all the things that you would like to accomplish. You may not get to them all but, make this your wish list of how you'd like the holidays to be. Writing everything down will help you realize how much you need/want to do and to keep you on track to an organized holiday without stress.

Examples could include:

Clean the woodwork, ceiling fans and windows

Organize the guest room

Hang new curtains in the living room

Bake Johnny's favorite batch of cookies, Susie's cheesecake, Dad's Christmas cake and brownies for the work party

Host a holiday party

Attend work festivities

Shopping for Husband, children, Mom, Dad, Aunt Kelly, neighbor

Decorate the house interior

Decorate the house exterior

Clean Johnny's room of clutter

Donate the boxes from Johnny's room

Volunteer at the Soup Kitchen

Help with the church fundraiser

Organize the gift wrapping center

Wrap gifts

Holiday meal grocery shopping

Cook the holiday meal

Attend the holiday church services

* Take care of yourself first so that you can take care of others. Have a warm bath often to help relieve stress and maintain an exercise program that will keep you healthy, make you feel better and give you the energy needed to complete your chores/holiday tasks.

Determine Timeframe:

Next, using your list of to-do's, make a column next to it that in your best estimate will list how much time each task will take.

List the dates for any holiday festivities if you know when they will be held and place these items on the calendar to help you remember to keep those dates clear of other events.

Enlist your helpers:

If you have a husband and children (as in this example), enlist their help with some of the cleaning or organizing chores. Determine the date you'd like these chores to be completed.

Create a to-do list for our helpers itemizing each chore and date to complete it. Help your helpers get organized and stay focused so that everyone can relieve holiday stress.

Start any of the items on your list as soon as possible – the more you check off the list and the faster you can get them done, the less stress you will have.

Start working on the List of things to-do several months early:

You will have better success to relieve holiday stress if you start working on anything that needs accomplished for the holidays by getting an early start.

Start working on the chores that will take the longest to accomplish or that can be done well in advance of the holidays such as cleaning Johnny's room and donating the boxes after the de-cluttering project.

Do any cleaning or rearranging rooms, hanging curtains, etc. a month or two in advance of the holiday.

Vow to stay organized and keep working on your to-do list.

Take warm baths to help relieve stress, give yourself alone time and keep your exercise regime going so you have the energy and stamina to have a happy holiday.

Try doing at least one task on the list a day or at least weekly in order to get it all done as early as possible such as some of the holiday baking. Many baked goods can be made well in advance, wrapped securely and kept frozen until needed.

Start the holiday gift shopping early, always keeping your gift list with you. If you happen to see a sale item, pick it up and cross at least one thing off the shopping list.

Organize your gift wrapping center, make sure you have enough ribbons, gift tags, bows, tissue paper and boxes so that you can return home, wrap the gift and keep it in safe storage.

Store your holiday gifts in a separate area that can be hidden from children if necessary but, not so hidden that you forget where you hid it – maybe designate a gift closet for items you purchased throughout the year. Vow to relieve holiday stress!

The month of the holiday:

This is the month to bring it all together.

Take warm baths for yourself to help relieve stress and continue your exercise program so that you'll have the energy you need to complete your chores in a timely manner.

Decorate the house interior and exterior (or leave the exterior to one of your helpers).

Grocery shop for any items that can be stored in the freezer or pantry without spoiling – many holiday food items will start to go on sale and you can save money while checking shopping off your to-do list.

Finish holiday gift shopping and wrapping the gifts. Pick up a few extra gifts that could be given to a neighbor that stops over or as a needed hostess gift for a party.

Attend any holiday festivities – many of your own chores should be completed leaving you with a feeling of calm, stress free, relaxation and huge accomplishment. Pat yourself on the back for bringing it all together in a timely fashion.

Host your own holiday party.

The week of the holiday:

This is the time to finish the grocery shopping list for the fresh ingredients like fruit and vegetables you will need for the holiday meal.

Complete those last minute baking projects.

Try to finish anything on your to-do list days before the holiday so that on the holiday you have a relaxed feeling of accomplishment and you'll still have time to add a last minute item or gift you think of late.

By organizing your chores, shopping, cleaning, decorating, wrapping and baking projects and starting as many as possible early, you'll have plenty of time to relax with loved ones in your calm and festive environment.

Take time to enjoy your own decorations, the scents of the holiday season, family, have a game night of fun and relaxation. Keep on your exercise program – it's what you do for yourself and will help you stay calm, relaxed and give you energy as well as keeping you healthy to enjoy the holidays.

Happy Stress Free Holidays!

Other ways to reduce stress: