Don’t let stress ruin your holidays! Here are a few strategies to help you relax and fully enjoy every moment.
1. Manage your expectations
Don’t strive for perfection and be realistic. You don’t have to make the world’s best yuletide log, put up the most elaborate decorations or buy the biggest gifts. You don’t even have to be the grand mistress of every celebration. By putting pressure on yourself to create meals and decorations straight out of a magazine, you risk taking on far too much and feeling like you’re not up to the task. For more relaxed and stress-free holidays, just follow this very simple rule: do less and enjoy more. In the end, the real meaning of the holidays is being with the ones we love. Don’t you agree?
The secret to Zen holidays comes down to good planning. It’s by far the best way to avoid stress and still get everything done in time. Get out your planner and organize your schedule. Start by marking important dates like parties, cocktails, brunches and other engagements. Then, strategically organize tasks (buying gifts, putting up decorations, cooking, cleaning, etc.) by choosing the best time to do each one. To help you get organized, you can make a holiday schedule (things to do: 3 weeks before Christmas, 2 weeks before Christmas, 1 week before Christmas, etc.).
Even if you’re the one who always gets everything done, it won’t hurt to start delegating. After all, you deserve a little help! Your partner and your children can help with various tasks (putting up decorations, buying gifts, cleaning the house, setting the table, etc.). You can also put your guests to work by asking them to bring appetizers or dessert, for example. It’s a good way to save a little time … and money!
4. Stay on budget
It’s so easy to get carried away by the holiday spirit and spend more than we should. And nothing is more stressful than knowing we won’t be able to pay off our bills when comes January. Decide on an amount before you go shopping and stick to it. If your financial resources are limited this year, look for creative, more affordable ways to express your love and appreciation. For example, give handmade gifts or suggest a Secret Santa gift exchange to reduce your gift-giving commitments.
5. Learn to say “No”
Feeling a little overwhelmed by all the invitations you’ve received? Know you can say “No, thank you”, especially if you don’t really want to go in the first place. There’s nothing wrong with taking a stand if it’s done nicely. If you’re having trouble choosing, establish your priorities. Ask yourself: if I had to go to just one event, which one would it be? Progressively go through your list and politely decline those that end up at the bottom. Besides, by choosing to go where you know you’ll have the most fun, you’ll avoid situations of stress.
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