The holiday season at the end of the year should be associated with love, peace, and joy, yet when the silly season comes rushing around we can’t help but feel the sting of managing holiday stress.
With the overabundance of parties, family gatherings, rich food, and copious amounts of alcohol, this can be a time of excess and overindulgence.
We’ve all had that wave of pre-holiday panic wash over us when we spot our first sparkly bauble in store, that’s a true sign that things are about to get a whole lot more hectic and descend into family holiday chaos.
It can be a stressful time for us all, especially when large families come together to celebrate the occasion, it can become quite the logistical nightmare with all the numerous family plans, activities, and the odd squabble.
I believe it doesn’t have to be like this, you have the power to cut the crazy chaos of the holiday season. I wholeheartedly believe as long as you’ve got a plan, you can have a stress-free holiday season.
And, as the go-to planner gal I’m here to show you exactly how to do that, in this blog, I’ll reveal my 13 tips and tricks for managing holiday stress!
13 tips and tricks for how to handle holiday stress…
// 1. Plan out your holiday season
We all know how tremendously busy the holiday season can be, so start by planning out your days (to the closest detail) as far ahead as possible to help with managing holiday stress and keeping brain-clutter at bay.
Trust me, when you know the intricate details of who needs to be where (and when) during the end of year holidays you’re going to feel in more control of your busy schedule and managing holiday stress.
Grab your physical or digital calendar and start documenting and planning out your family’s events, catch-ups, and activities for the season.
Set aside times and days for shopping, to-dos, catching up with friends, downtime (hello self-care!), and any activities that you’re aware of. Don’t forget to add reminders for yourself and the family.
If you want to take your family organization to the next level, set up linked to-do’s within your events so that your family can be automatically reminded of things they need to-do to prepare for an event, like buying a Turkey for Christmas Day.
// 2. Change up the family holiday plans
Every year families tend to do the same old thing during Christmas, there’s the BBQs, the hectic dash to get around and see everyone, and then there’s the Christmas lunch at the same family member’s house.
You’re most likely stressing about the upcoming holidays because you know exactly what to expect, who’s going to be there, the touchy conversations, and the day’s proceedings just because you’ve done it year after year.
Why not treat this year differently? After all, 2020 has been a tad unusual. This year, why not change up where you’re going to celebrate Christmas lunch or dinner? Are you usually the host? Maybe convince another family member to host it at their house or consider eating out.
You could even go as far as to change the usual day-to-day Christmas routine although, why not spend it near the beach or at a beautiful national park?
Whatever it is, make it exciting for the family to enjoy!
// 3. Establish healthy boundaries
The holiday season can be all too stressful and draining trying to live up to multiple family member expectations.
Realize it’s OKAY to say no to your family members, this is your holiday and sacred family time, you don’t have to do everything they request.
Making it clear with your family what your availability is for the holiday season, trying to avoid overcommitting, and saying yes to everything will go a long way towards managing holiday stress. This is the time of the year where you should be relaxing and enjoying some time off with your partner and kids.
// 4. Don’t overdo it this Christmas!
Stop pushing yourself every holiday season, only do what you can easily manage and for goodness sake… keep things simple.
Less is more. Let me say that again in case you missed it – Less is more!
Don’t feel like you have to go over the top to impress your family members, at the end of the day it’s about the precious time you get to spend together, not about how beautifully the table is decorated.
// 4. Find some time for yourself
Managing holiday stress can be challenging when the kids and hubby are all at home, so why not take an hour out of your schedule to just breathe and find some time for yourself.
Do something that puts your mind at ease, like working on a puzzle, getting your nose stuck into a book or listening to a podcast.
Schedule these things in your calendar so that they happen.
As Jim Kwik (his real name), founder of Kwik Learning and a widely recognized world expert in speed-reading, memory improvement, brain performance, and accelerated learning says. “One of the most powerful tools you have is your calendar. You schedule in your meetings and appointments so that they happen – so why not do the same for your self-care and learning?”
// 5. Schedule downtime for everyone in the family
Just like you need time for yourself, so does the rest of the fam!
The silly season can be outrageously busy, at some point someone’s bound to drive another crazy, so make sure you’ve scheduled breathing space in everyone’s calendar, to sit back, relax and decompress.
// 6. Prioritize your wellbeing and health
The holidays are synonymous with overeating and excessive alcohol, the negative consequences of these activities (hello bloating and lethargy) can really take their toll and dampen your overall festive spirit (plus your patience with other family members!).
One of your main priorities for reducing holiday stress should be looking after your health and wellbeing.
Make sure you’re getting your 8+ hours of sleep, drinking enough water, and regularly exercising.
// 7. Identify a lifeline and reach out
Managing holiday stress can be taxing on one’s psyche, what better way to vent and get something off your chest than to call a trusted friend or colleague who will understand your frustrations.
Work out who your go-to lifeline person is, give them a heads up and have them on speed dial! Also, think about who’s lifeline buddy you can be.
// 8. Stick to a holiday budget
One of the biggest holiday stressors is money! As we all know Christmas holidays are an expensive time of year for families, which is why you need to plan your finances ahead and stick to a holiday budget.
Get out your calendar and look at all the events, activities, and outings you’ve got planned for the season and allocate a budget for each occasion.
Set a limit for each activity so you don’t overspend on the day.
Meal planning is also a great way to save a few dollaroos, create a set menu for Christmas day so that you only buy what’s necessary.
If you’re worried you’ll give in to temptation in the aisles of your local grocer, stay on top of your budget by adding your list of items to your Life Sorted shopping list, this way you’ll be able to tick and go with ease without leaving an item behind or getting charmed by the holiday specials.
//9. Build some family holiday rituals (if you don’t have any already)
Some of the best memories made during the holiday season are the family traditions.
When my kids were younger we always watched a cheerful Christmas movie and made rum balls together on Christmas eve (after local Christmas lights viewing).
Plus, there’s the annual street party on our driveway, which is always a heap of fun and a fantastic way to catch up with all the neighbors at once.
If you don’t have any family traditions or rituals of your own, start introducing some to your kids and family this year, the warmth and love from these moments will definitely help you manage holiday stress.
// 10. Take advantage of online shopping
The shopping centres this time of the year are craaazy busy, why go through the stress of hectic holiday parking and crammed stores, when you can shop right from your phone! And remember, you can still shop and support local businesses online.
Shop virtually and take advantage of all that’s on offer… the seamless checkout process (no long queues), free shipping and holiday discounts on offer.
I’d suggest starting your online shopping immediately, just in case there’s any COVID shipping delays.
// 12. Don’t abandon your usual routine
An essential way to manage holiday stress is to keep your usual routine in check. Don’t throw your day-to-day routine right out of the window, your mind and body needs it!
Keep moving and doing what you normally do, whether that be daily exercise or waking up at a certain time you can still have a great holiday and retain your normal schedule.
// 13. Find peace in the small things
One of the hardest decisions I have to make during Christmas is choosing what wrapping paper and ribbon to wrap all the gifts with.
Haha! Sounds nuts, but the happiness I get from beautifully wrapping gifts is enormous.
You see this activity is therapeutic to me, it brings me loads of peace and joy during the busy season.
This small task gives me a moment to slow down and just be with myself, a perfect cure to combat the Christmas crazies.
Plus… the last thing you want is to be wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve, so make sure you schedule time in your calendar to wrap all your gifts at least a few days before Christmas.
Now that you have these handy holiday stress tips, you should be well prepared for the upcoming silly season ahead.
The holidays are a tough time of year for many of us, so try to keep a positive mindset and enjoy this precious time with your family.
Savor the small moments you experience during the holiday season, whether it be a fine glass of champagne, watching your childrens’ faces light up as they unwrap their gifts, or listening to some cheerful Christmas carols (I mean who doesn’t love some Buble?), and being grateful will help you manage holiday stress.