Today, I am posting on an Advent Calendar from Camille’s site Chicken Scratch N Sniff. She has had this advent calendar going all month. You should check it out!! If you want to see yesterday’s post, go here. If you want to start at the beginning and see all of them, go to Camille’s site directly: here.
The holidays are known to take a toll on each of us. There is so much to do. Shopping. Baking. Giving. Parties. Wrapping. More shopping. Decorating. Cleaning. Expectations. Exhaustion.
Really, the holidays are intended to be a positive experience, but all too often they don’t live up to the hype and end up leaving us feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, overspent, and disappointed.
In an effort to battle holiday stress (without actually cancelling Christmas), here are:
9 Ways to Banish Holiday Stress Forever
1. Make a List
Santa does it. It must mean something…
He’s makin’ a list
He’s checkin’ it twice…
Seriously, take some advice from the big man. He has been doing this awhile. Make a list. Write down everyone you want to buy for, write down your list of things to do, write down you budget. Get it all out there on one list. You will feel a sense of relief as you get it off your chest and onto black and white.
2. Ask yourself two questions:
Do I have to?
Do I want to?
Many times during the holidays we do things because we “should” or “It is tradition!” Ofttimes you will find that those things are making you miserable. Why do something that makes you miserable if you don’t have to?
Do you want to make 220 cupcakes for your church party? Do you want to handmake a special gift for all 50 neighbors in your neighborhood? Do you really want to throw that extravagent party that stretches your budget and makes a mess out of your house while everyone else laughs and jokes and you are crying over your hot cocoa alone in the kitchen?
Sometimes it takes some hard questions and evaluation to ensure that you don’t kill yourself over the unimportant things.
Which, leads us right into number three…
3. Learn to Say No
Say it with me: No.
Let me practice with you:
No, thank you.
Thanks for thinking of me, but my schedule is already full.
Wow! That sounds great, but I can’t.
Oh shoot! We already have plans.
No (end of sentence).
There are many, many times when saying yes works, is important, and helps others. There are many times when no is the more appropriate answer.
If you must know, saying no is very difficult for me, but a good No at the right time and the right place can be extremely powerful, freeing, and liberating.
I challenge you each to say no to something this week. Simplify. Let go.
If you want more tips on how to say no, check out this post:
4. Stick to a Budget
Money stressors are huge during the holidays. And, boy, do those bills add up fast. Just because it is Christmas doesn’t mean that you don’t have to still pay the mortgage, the car payments and the utilities. It can be so easy to overspend, and that makes the next few months pretty stressful when you are trying to make ends meet.
Use #1 above to make a list of everyone you need/want to buy for, then write down how much at most you want to spend. When you are looking for a gift, carry your list with you so you know what your budget is. You will be less likely to blow your budget on a last minute gift. Plus, you find you will seek out more meaningful gifts when you have less to spend. You will not just buy to buy.
5. Take a Walk and Get Some Sunshine
There are great benefits to getting out of the house, getting some exercise and some Vitamin D. It is a little more difficult in the winter months – especially if you are fighting bad weather, but it can make a world of difference to your peace of mind.
Sunshine and exercise can boost serotonin, which regulates sleep, appetite, memory, and mood. So, get out there. Absorb some of that sunshine and take deeps breaths while you are moving. You will find you already feel better.
Step away from the computer, the phone, the television, and social media. More and more studies are being done that show overindulgence in these things have a negative impact on your emotional well-being.
Turn them off. Unplug and allow yourself a day or a few hours without all those voices telling you what to do.
Turn on some music instead and allow yourself to sing away the day.
Laughter truly can be the best medicine. Take some time to watch a funny movie, or tell old funny stories with your family. You will find that you relax and many of your worries will fade away.
Laughter lowers blood pressure, decreases stress hormones, triggers the release of endorphins, and produces an overall feeling of well-being. Try it. You will not be disappointed!
8. Enlist Help
Asking for help is a gift, to yourself and others. There are times when we cannot and should not do things alone. As a part of #1, be sure that you add who can help. Let your husband know what he can help with. Give him a list and some encouragement! You can even have the little ones pitch in. I had my little ones help decorate their own rooms, do small chores around the house, and help decide what gifts they want to give to one another.
As we help one another, we are also sharing the spirit of Christmas: giving. Give someone else the opportunity to help you.
9. Know When Enough is enough
Set a date and time when you are done. If a neighbor brings you a gift and you didn’t have one for them – it’s o.k. You already got the gifts, and you don’t need to run out at the last minute like a crazed person to buy that bottle of sparkling cider. If you realize that you forgot to mail a special Christmas card, or don’t have “equal” presents under the tree, there is a time when enough is enough.
Things will not be perfect.
Let imperfection be good enough.
There is a time and place for perfection, I just haven’t ever seen it in this lifetime. So, if you are feeling like you must have a Martha Stewart home, remember:
Not everybody likes Martha Stewart.
And that’s o.k.
Enough is enough.
And, that is good enough.
O.K. Because I like you all, I am giving you a freebie. Let’s make it an even 10.
10. Remember the reason for the season.
It isn’t about the toys, the perfect table setting, the amount of money you spend, or the gifts that Santa will bring.
Honestly, Christmas is about bringing out the best in each of us. Christmas is about love. It is about giving. It is about Christ.
So, when you find yourself caught up in the holiday stress, take a minute. Try one or two of the tips. Try all of them, for goodness’ sake, but do me one small favor:
Enjoy Christmas this year.
We are so ever blessed.
Merry, merry Christmas.
If you liked this post, check out some of my other Christmas posts: