5 tips for stress-free Holidays

5 tips for stress-free Holidays

Most Canadians see the Holidays as an opportunity to rest and recharge their batteries in order to start the new year off on the right foot. The reality, however, of today’s ultra-consumerist society often pushes people to consume more, thereby making Christmas a source of anxiety.

Canadian families will spend nearly $2,000 on gifts, preparations, food and travel this year, so the big question is: What must we do to survive the frantic holiday period? Here are a few tricks to help you remain calm and better prepare for your time off.

1. Spend realistically

Blindly spending can lead to debt stress. Only 14% of Canadians admit to not being worried about major holiday spending.
To avoid debt stress, set a spending limit on gifts and preparations. Make a list of people for whom you want to buy a present and allocate your budget accordingly. Then, don’t spend more than that amount because stress occurs when you bust this limit.

Remember that quality should outweigh quantity.

2. Set time aside for yourself and don’t make too many commitments

The Holidays can be a hectic period because you spend a lot of time running errands, visiting family and friends, preparing activities for your children, etc. Family is important, but you are too. Make a schedule to ensure proper time management. Set your priorities and plan your travel time. No one wants to disappoint but being able to say no is sometimes a good thing. Set your priorities and stick to them.

Plus, it will be easier to turn down an engagement when you plan ahead. Finally, treat yourself and take advantage of your time off to do things you don’t normally have the time to do.

3. Avoid conversations that make you uneasy

Family members mean well, there’s no doubt about that. However, the Holidays seem to be the perfect time for them to poke their nose in your personal life. If their curiosity makes you anxious or uneasy, prepare a few easy answers in your head. Simply knowing that you have an answer ready will quell your anxiety.

4. Don’t forget the holiday spirit

In the hustle and bustle of the Holidays, we tend to forget what’s really important. Whether visiting family or spending time with friends, it’s important to remind yourself why you get together in the first place. Make the most of these precious moments, while reducing your stress at the same time.

5. Live in the now

Don’t be upset if your holidays “aren’t what they used to be” or if you become nostalgic during this time of celebration. Life changes. Every Christmas is different and deserves to be celebrated accordingly. Looking ahead and letting go will help to better appreciate the present.

So, don’t forget that even though the Holidays are supposed to be a time for celebration, for many people, this may not be the case. If this applies to you, the best thing for you to do may be to ask for help, as difficult as it may seem. “Loneliness like thirst is an aversive signal that motivates us to change our behaviour accordingly,” explains Dr. John Cacioppo, Director, Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience, University of Chicago.