Taking the Stress Out of the Holidays

By Carolina Boyd

For many the holidays are the most wonderful time of the year, but the season can also be stressful. According to the American Psychological Association, 38 percent of people say their stress level increases during the holiday.  Unrealistic expectations, financial pressures and excessive time commitments are common stressors.  Fortunately there are ways to make the holidays more merry and bright.

Plan Ahead.

One of the best ways to avoid that overwhelming feeling is to plan ahead.  Make a list of everything you need to get done.  Carve out time to work on holiday related tasks, and before you spend a single penny on any gifts, create a holiday budget – and stick to it! Start hunting out deals on items that you plan to buy early, no matter how good those last minute deals may be.

Take Care of You.

While the holidays are about giving, make sure to place yourself high on the priority list. If you don’t feel well mentally, physically or emotionally, how can you have a good holiday season? The more time you set aside for yourself the better you will feel.

Remember What Really Matters.

What stands out about your best holiday memories? Was it centered on gifts or things? Probably not. Most of us tend to remember times spent with family and friends. The holidays don’t have to be perfect.  Make a list of what is important to you and focus on that rather than your holiday “to-do” list.

Don’t let the holidays become something you dread. With a little planning and some positive thinking you can find peace and even joy during this time of year.