The holiday season can be one of the best times of the year, but it can also be the most stressful. Shopping for gifts, several holiday parties, and time with family can be pretty taxing on your mental and emotional health – although these aspects all part of getting into the holiday spirit, don’ t let them keep you from relaxing and enjoying the season’s festivities.
Follow these tips to help you avoid stress during the holidays:
- Plan ahead—waiting until the last minute to purchase gifts, plan a party or send out greeting cards is bound to make you feel stressed. Give yourself plenty of time to complete your to-do list in case the crowds are large and the lines are long.
- Watch your finances—ideally you want to get the perfect gift for everybody, but don’t like your finances suffer too badly in the process. Try your best to find awesome practical gifts with the right dose of sentimental value. Set spending limits for yourself and be diligent in sticking to them.
- Have sensible expectations—it’s not going to be possible for you to get something special for everybody and make every party you’re invited to. That’s perfectly fine. This is a hectic time of the year for everybody and those who care about you should understand that – just as you would understand if you were in their position instead. This time of the year is for spreading holiday cheer! Try your best not to let expectations over material items or event planning rob you of the happiness “the most wonderful time of the year” is supposed to bring.
To help with managing stress mentally and emotionally, here are some easy tips for physical health that will better prepare you overall for the holiday rush.
- Exercise—by maintaining your regular exercise routine during the festive season, you can relieve stress in a tangible and healthy way.
- Eat well—we all know how good the food and sweets are during this time of the year, but try not to lose focus entirely on maintaining a healthy diet. Yes, have a couple (or ten) of grandma’s famous gingerbread cookies, but keep yourself honest and help offset that with an extra helping of vegetables and drinking plenty of water.
- Avoid sugar and caffeine if possible—these may give you energy, but that energy will be short-lived and could ultimately make you more irritable or tired.
- Get plenty of sleep—Sleep is often the first thing people sacrifice during busy times. Allow yourself plenty of time to sleep every night.
Staying positive during a potentially stressful time will help you carry the warmth of the holidays into the new year as well as make the festivities more enjoyable for everybody around you!
Dangers of Holiday Stress: An Anecdote
Paul, a homeowner in Ohio, was busy getting ready to host a Christmas Eve brunch for his family and friends. The night before the brunch, Paul put up festive decorations on the interior and exterior of his home - despite being exhausted from his hours of food preparation.
Paul strung Christmas lights around his windows and a few shrubs. He plugged the lights in and went to bed satisfied knowing that even his home was in the Christmas spirit. Early the next morning, Paul was woken by fire truck sirens and realized they were outside of his house. He saw flames and smoke coming from the front of his house and quickly ran outside.
The fire department was able to extinguish the fire, but Paul’s home suffered extensive damage. A firefighter determined that the fire was started by the Christmas lights, which were old and weathered. Paul was so tired when he was hanging them that he did not take the time to inspect the lights and wiring for any obvious damage. Paul got lost in the holiday stress with the most sincere of intentions. He spread himself too thin with food preparations for the party and lost focus when decorating his home, causing him to crucially overlook a basic safety precaution.
We at Clarke & Sampson wish you the happiest of holidays! At the same time, we want to make sure you are covered and protected no matter what during this stressful time of the year. If you have any questions or there is anything we can do to give you peace of mind click the button below or give us a call at (703) 683-6601.