The ambiance of the holidays is warm, celebratory, and full of friends, family and memories. But each of these feelings has a dark side, too. Among the invites to parties, the fatigue of work deadlines, the last-minute gift shopping, we all can start to feel overwhelmed, rushed, and over extended. To withstand the stress and maintain your holiday spirit, we have three tricks to staying serene.
- Plan ahead. We know the holidays are coming. They don’t change. They don’t sneak up. They’re on the calendar, and they’re the same every year. And we know everything that comes with the season. To manage your mental health and your wallet, stick to your budget and learn to delegate. Designate a certain amount of money for party food and gifts, and stick with it. Avoid the marketing persuasion tactics. Make a list of friends and family who you want to buy gifts for, and what you need for parties. Share the preparation. Assign dishes to willing party-going friends and family members. Assign clean-up tasks to kids and your spouse. Create a task list and divide the responsibilities.
- Be realistic. You don’t have to do it all. The art of saying no can be difficult to master, but when you stretch yourself thin you leave yourself open to illness and increased stress. Consider what is most important to you: Do you have to make an appearance at a third event this week, or does the stack of yet-to-be-wrapped gifts in your closet require your attention? It’s okay to turn people down, and once you get comfortable with doing that, you’ll find your stress load ease almost immediately.
- Prioritize. Above all, take care of yourself first. If you’re tired and run down, you’re not offering a quality contribution at work or at home. You’re a better partner, friend, parent, employee and boss when you’re meeting your own needs before everyone else’s. Make space in your schedule for a daily meditation practice. Make room in your budget for services that serve your needs. And, don’t skimp on your sleep. Lack of sleep affects your health, productivity and relationships.
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