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As soon as it’s October, and the Halloween décor goes up, I know holiday season is upon us! Unfortunately the holiday season can bring about a lot of fun and a whole lot of stress. Not so fun!
While there are many holidays throughout the year, I’m referring to the winter holidays. Most people in the U.S. celebrate a few different holidays throughout this time. Some include Thanksgiving, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and of course New Year’s.
Talk about a lot going on!
The holidays can bring about stress for even the happiest person. Between buying gifts, planning activities or trips to see your family, the holidays are a busy time. And you have to maneuver through this season with a smile on your face. Not always easy, but not impossible either (I’ll explain why below).
Holiday stress is a real thing and should be treated as such!
Having or experiencing stress means there is some added pressure in a situation you are facing. We all experience times of great stress or pressure, and it’s how we manage the stress that makes it a lot more bearable.
You can’t avoid stress or overwhelm, you can embrace it so it doesn’t have to suck as much. Basically, embracing the suck!
So holiday stress isn’t too different from normal stress one may experience throughout the year. It just happens during the holiday months. It’s a time to break routines, spend money on gifts and carve out time for family and friends; all in the name of holiday.
Now don’t get me wrong, I absolute love the holiday season! Not only is it also a time focused on giving, love and peace, but my birthday is in the midst of it all. So another reason to celebrate with as minimal stress as possible!
While the holidays should be fun, it would be irresponsible to assume that they don’t come with their own levels of stress. Here are some example situations that may lead to you experiencing holiday stress:
- Speaking or spending time with someone you don’t like
- Buying gifts for the entire family when you’re on a strict budget
- Participating in activities that take away from self
- Distracted from working toward existing goals or to-do’s
There’s a plethora of situations that can lead to holiday stress. Doesn’t sound too fun right? Yet, we all have to deal with it a time or two. So instead of focusing on the stress, here are 6 ways that you can stay sane and stress-free during this holiday season!
Be Honest With Yourself
This is the first one as it is the driving force for dealing with holiday stress in its entirety. Before you can really tackle the holidays, it’s time you get really real with yourself.
You should consider what you can actually handle, not only emotionally and mentally, but financially as well. Navigating the holidays may be easy for some people, but I know that it can definitely have its daunting moments.
In order to move past those moments with ease, first be honest with yourself on what you are willing to give, do, participate in, etc. Once you know your limits, you can better prepare to tackle the holiday season.
Don’t Neglect Self-Care
Holidays can be like a whirlwind for most of us, so it’s extremely important not to lose yourself in the midst of all the chaos.
I know that it’s usually busier during the holiday season, but don’t let it destroy your current self-care routine. Self-care is not about just one moment, but about all the moments we experience, and how we spend time building self up!
Whatever your current self-care routine is, just don’t neglect it. Make sure you are still spending time with yourself and doing what makes you happy.
Even if you need to take a momentary step back or rest, do it. Don’t stop listening to yourself no matter what. The holidays are about giving and that includes giving back to yourself!
Stick With Your Budget
Don’t let the nearing holiday season wreak havoc on your existing budget! Whatever your budget is, no matter the financial goal, your budget is in existence for a reason. You don’t want to let a temporary situation ruin something a little more permanent, right?
Establish your budget for your holiday spending ASAP if you haven’t yet already. Create a list of who you want to give gifts to and what you will spend. Don’t go over this amount or the amount of gifts!
Related Post: 5 Steps On Creating A Budget For Beginners
I know it is tempting to buy something a little over budget because it’s the holidays so why not. But it does matter because you don’t want to create a financial mess to clean up as soon as the new year starts.
Think of it like this, your budget is your resource to help you navigate spending and reach your financial goals. The holidays should not change that so don’t let it slip!
Establish Your Own Traditions
Most of us have practice traditions that we have picked up from childhood and even adulthood. Whether it is where to buy your Christmas Tree or when you’ll be hosting Friendsgiving, traditions are a HUGE part of the holidays.
In order to eliminate your holiday stress, try establishing your own traditions. Whatever is true to you or brings you peace, is important enough to celebrate!
One of my favorite holiday traditions is decorating the Christmas tree while sipping some hot chocolate and singing Chris Brown’s rendition of This Christmas. Not necessarily a big tradition, but one that I thoroughly enjoy during my holiday season.
By doing this, you get to put the focus of the holidays back on you, enjoying doing something to simply make yourself happy. Not only do you get to celebrate the holidays, you get to practice a little self-care too. No further explanation needed!
Give to the Unfortunate
This one is a great one because it requires little to no money! Giving back is a great way to reduce personal stress because it shifts the focus from our inner problems to solutions for others. It also shifts your mind from focusing on all the ugly, negative stuff, and instead focus on something positive.
And honestly speaking, the Holidays are stressful for everyone. It is important to remember that during this time so we can better prepare to celebrate with those who may not have it as easy as we do.
Volunteering your time or goods is a great step in reducing your holiday stress. For example, you can try donating canned goods to a local organization, or spend a few hours at a shelter passing out meals. Maybe you can donate lightly used clothes that you know you won’t wear, but someone else may be able to.
Either way, it will bring you great joy and inner peace simply by doing something nice for someone else. The holidays should be about joy, and experiencing that joy with ourselves and with others.
You can reduce your holiday stress by practicing gratitude more often. Practicing gratitude means being thankful and showing appreciation for someone or something.
The holidays can bring about a load of stress and chaos, but gratitude can help redirect your thinking so you can focus on what is going right, not just what isn’t going quite right.
But I get it. Shopping for the holidays, spending more money than you anticipated and/ or dealing with irritating loved ones can be a drag. But that’s not all you should see when you’re in the woes of the holiday season.
You can also be grateful to have things that bring you joy or happiness. For example, I used to complain a whole lot when a previous partner and I had to travel to 4 different households in one day during the holidays to see all of our families.
It took me a little while to realize how negative my perspective was of the entire day. I didn’t give myself a chance to appreciate all the joy that I would feel because I was focused on all the driving we had to do.
So, I made a mental shift and decided to focus on the gratitude I felt to have so many people want to spend time with me during the holidays. Even with all my inner negativity, I was grateful for love!
Now Enjoy The Holiday Season!
Holiday stress can be a tough thing to experience but it does not have to ruin the entire season for you. I’m here to remind you that your happiness, peace, security and inner joy do not have to fall to the way side during this time.
Instead, use this upcoming holiday season to continuously focus on self while also preparing for all that comes with the holidays. It’s about finding your balance so that you can fully enjoy the holidays and actually look forward to them each year.
By reducing your holiday stress at every corner, you can begin to envision a life where you look forward to the holidays more than ever. You are no longer negatively impacted by the holidays, but instead you are excited and empowered to move through the season with a smile on your face.