The holidays are creeping in so so so soon and even though it’s all about being jolly, hanging out with family & friends, amazing food, presents and the old man with the belly and white beard, for some people, it can be quite a stressful and daunting time of the year.
There is so much to do but so little time.
Let me guess, you’ve got an endless list of gifts to buy, so much food to cook and cakes to bake, not to mention decorating your home and cleaning! Phew.
For some people, the holidays can be a very anxious time of the year. The thought of socializing, neverending Christmas parties, drinking and oh, this list goes on and on, especially for me.
I work in a business where people tend to turn to alcohol A LOT (yes, you guessed it – I’m talking about the music biz), particularly during the holidays. It’s hard for me, being an introvert in an extrovert business, the constant socializing and pressure of alcohol. I do drink when I feel like it, but it doesn’t happen that often (anymore) and I’ve found that I like myself better without it. Let’s not even get started on how bad the hangovers get when you get older!
I’m going to add a big fat ANYWAYS here, I’m going slightly off track. Let’s get back on it. So, there is a whole lot that goes into the holiday preparations and I’m about to make it (hopefully) a little easier for you.
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Let’s dig in. Here are 7 ways to deal with stress and overwhelm during the holidays..
ASK FOR HELP
First things first. It’s completely ok (and necessary) to outsource tasks around the holidays. You are not Santa and you can’t do it all yourself. Ask for help, from your husband/wife, kids, neighbors, friends, and other family members.
We all know the to-do’s and responsibility that comes hand in hand with this holiday, so share it. This can really lift a weight off of your shoulders and you can gladly focus on one task and move onto the next without rushing or stressing.
Tip: Let your kids help with baking and gift-wrapping – chores I’m positive the kids will love.
Getting things done in pairs (or more) is key, guys!
Procrastination. The number one reason for overwhelm and stress during the holidays. We tend to wait and then wait some more before we get started on our tasks related to Christmas. Why is that though? Don’t procrastinate and get started earlier rather than later. Take the trip to the attic, get those decorations up and start DOING.
Get a head start on your shopping as well. Jot down ideas for gifts ahead of time, before you go to the mall. This will help you to stay away from any improvised purchases by the counter and also make the presents more meaningful and thought through.
And don’t save all the cleaning until the day before Christmas. I know, the house might be a little messier than normal if you have kids running around, and you’re constantly baking and wrapping gifts. In this case, do a little tidying up every (other) day. Don’t leave it all for Santa Clause on the night of the 25th. This trick will really help with stress! #LIFEHACK
I’d say mid-November is a great time to start getting your Christmas on. Or right after Thanksgiving.
Yes, I know, we ALL want our holidays and Christmas to be perfect, amazing and free of all hassle. We want to feel peaceful, rested and thankful. Ok – this all sounds GREAT, but if set expectations like these, it ain’t gonna happen, especially if you’re already stressing about it.
We need to get our expectations in order and make them realistic and scalable.
How do you do that you may ask?
Well, the answer is PLANNING. I may be one who suffers from chronic planning, but there is also a reason why I turn to planning as much as I do. It’s because it actually works and it helps to guide me in the right direction and makes sure I am moving forward.
Plan for incidents to happen, to overcook your Christmas cookies and be ok with it because if you plan right there will be time to make another batch that’s perfectly cooked and smells like heaven.
Schedule a time for going shopping for gifts, clean the house, party plan and so on. Write up your holidays schedule and stick to it. Make sure to leave breathing- and relaxing room, because it’s not supposed to feel like work, it’s hopefully just supposed to make this time a little easier for you. And planning sure does that if done right.
Important note: Don’t schedule anything for the actual holidays (24th and 25th of December!) – this will be the time for genuine relaxing. You should sit back and breathe easy on these days.
I use my Productivity Planner to prioritize my to-do list. I absolutely love it!
gCal is also a great resource for planning and putting actions on your calendar. You can also set reminders and color code (yay!). But don’t forget the old fashioned way, which is to use a pen and paper or post-its on your fridge. Such a classic but so helpful.
DO WHAT FEELS RIGHT (FOR YOU!)
There’s absolutely no need to go all ELLE – Christmas catalog on your home if you don’t want (or can afford) to. Don’t let social media and other people tell you how you should spend your holiday.
Decorate your home the way you love to do it, buy the gifts that are meaningful to you and take the Christmas family photos that make sense for your family. Do what you want and what feels essential to you and your family.
A simplified holiday is made for a simplified life and mind, and it’s often the best kind.
If we let other people or media set the standard for how decorated a house should be for Christmas, well, we’re doomed to feel stressed and overwhelmed. It’s the actual recipe for stress and feeling bad about yourself. And you should NEVER (ever) feel bad about yourself during the most wonderful time of the year.
Tip: Try and stay away from social media as much as you can. If you must, allow yourself to scroll through Instagram once a day. I usually delete my Instagram app, to be honest. It helps me to stay in the moment and enjoy Christmas, rather than snooping in on other people’s lives.
The HOLIDAYS + SELF-CARE = ❤️
Remember “the holidays” is supposed to a HOLIDAY. It’s ridiculously obvious but sometimes forgotten.
Set aside at least 30 minutes a day to practice self-care. This is a great time for catching up on your reading, taking a long bath (and watch Netflix simultaneously), doing crossword puzzles, take a long walk and listen to an audiobook or an inspirational podcast.
Treat yourself! You may feel busy, but it’s the holidays, after all. Remember that.
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Even though it’s the holidays, the time for sitting, Netflixing, laying down, chillin’, and not actively going to the gym, you should (for your wellbeing) implement some simple and effective exercising during this time of the year.
- Light yoga
- Go for a long walk
- Stretch it out, every day
- Dance a little to“All I Want For Christmas Is You” in your living room while getting your home ready for the holidays (yes, I’m serious)
Get that blood flow flowing at least 20 minutes a day. This is a great way to keep the holiday weight off (if that’s something you’re into) and it can also help elevate stress, keep your mind sane and mood jolly during the holidays.
SET A BUDGET
The expenses during the holidays can really add up and I know I tend to go little nuts in late November when the pretty decorations are up in the shop windows. So, I know how tempting the spending can get, and it’s easy to go overboard.
According to, Gallup, US adults estimate that they will spend approximately $885 on gifts this year (2018). That is A LOT of money and that’s only counting gifts…
Set aside a budget for Christmas and estimate how much you are likely to spend on:
- Holiday cards
By creating a holiday budget you avoid getting yourself into holiday debt, which also equals an overwhelm- and stressfree holiday. This way, you can genuinely enjoy your holidays, because, let’s be honest, the money is one of the core issues here.
Tip: Add a buffer to your budget just in case you go a little over.. which isn’t hard to do. Always good to have a backup.
Before you go
This is a side note, but we are getting closer to the new year and once you’ve successfully (and happily) gotten through the holidays, give yourself the time and space to go over your goals and dreams for the next year and make it an AMAZING one.
With that said, you can join my free challenge by dropping your name and email in the form below. I’ll be thrilled to have you on board. 🙂
Let’s make the next year the best year yet.
But also, let’s make Christmas your favorite time of the year, again! 🙂