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Holiday Season Survival Guide

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‘Tis the season for stress

How to lessen your stress & have the best holidays yet 

Written by Virginia Frischkorn

If you’ve lived through the holiday season, you know it’s not filled with joy and spice and everything nice all the time. In fact, you might run around like a stress ball trying to figure out the right gifts for friends and family without spending a pretty penny, setting up a holiday party for coworkers with games and a gift exchange, constant cooking and cleaning, trying to keep the family at ease when arguments are sure to flare up, all while searching for your sanity because you definitely lost it. Ahhh the happiest time of the year! Maybe what you want for Christmas this year is rest, or a foot massage? What you need is a survival guide to get through the holidays (somewhat) stress-free. Here are 7 tips to follow:

1. Stick to a budget

During the gift-giving time of year, money can get pretty tight (we’re not looking at you, just speaking for a friend). Choose to give DIY gifts or do a gift exchange where everyone gets one name to give a present to. This saves money and time (and stress) that is better spent hanging out with the friends and family you don’t see on a daily basis.  

Another resource we thought would be helpful: How to Navigate Gift Giving

2. Accept imperfection

Whether cooking for twenty guests or splitting time between what feels like ten different families, you may feel like you’re in a pressure cooker about ready to explode. Remember to tell yourself you don’t have to be perfect–in fact, you don’t even have to strive to be close. Just enjoy the small moments and ask for help as you need it. What’s harder than trying to do everything perfectly is trying to do everything perfectly alone

3. Set boundaries

If you’re the one traveling for the holiday, set boundaries beforehand so you aren’t at your relatives’ house long enough to start getting irritated with each other. If four days is plenty of time, don’t let anyone force you into staying a whole week or two. You choose how you spend your time, but go at it with a positive attitude; no one wants to hang around a grinch throughout the holidays.

4. Avoid family conflict

If your biggest stressor is the idea of discrepancies with family members, remember, you can’t change what other people say and do, but you can decide how to respond. Maybe simply changing the topic will do, or walk out of the room when conversations get heated. Or sit back and take a sip of wine if it will help you handle the unsolicited advice from loved ones.

5. Focus on what you can control

Make a list of everything stressing you out about the holidays. Identify the items in your control. Throw the rest in the garbage because there’s no point in stressing over what’s out of your control. It sounds simple but oh ho ho how it can make a difference.

6. Protect your downtime

It may be the season of giving, but don’t bend over backwards to the point of breaking. Attempt to keep your normal routine and give yourself breathing room between all the festivities. Even the most extroverted person needs a moment of peace and quiet from all the socializing.

7. Bring connection to the top of your to-do list

Holidays aren’t holidays without the people you share them with. Make spending time with people your top priority. Be intentional with inviting others into what you’re doing. They just might ease your stress and make your tasks all that more enjoyable.

Hold this Holiday Survival Guide near and dear to your heart. Tuck it away and take it out as early signs of stress rise to the surface. You don't have to go another holiday feeling weighed down by the festivities. Now go out and sing the holiday music you’ve been wanting to. With this survival guide, you can sing from the top of your lungs.

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