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Tips for a Stress Free Holiday Season, Part 2
There are any number of things which can stress us out at the holiday time, from money worries to relationship issues. and the inevitable extra demands placed upon us by the holidays. Seasonal social gatherings, which will be quite different this year, are supposed to be enjoyable but can turn out to be a minefield for sufferers of stress, particularly when these come in the form of an office party or family gathering which many people look forward to with dread rather than delight. This year with the concerns of COVID-19, people will feel additional stress and concerns just being in a group. Perhaps instead of all getting together in one home, or office space, use Facetime, Skype, Portal, or some other means to be together, and yet stay safe.
When it comes to stress caused by money worries, the best thing to do is set a holiday budget and stick to it. Once you have your budget in place, allocate funds within it for separate holiday necessities such as food and presents. All too often we are tempted to overspend when we hit the shops. Going armed with a detailed list and sticking to it is an excellent way to avoid this temptation. The other danger is that we tend to overstock, cramming our fridges and cupboards with all kinds of goodies that we neither really want nor to need. This year, order online or perhaps do a curbside pick up for groceries and gifts. Put necessary safety measures in place, to complete the shopping on your gift list.
Remember that you are not preparing for a siege. Most shops are only shut for a day or two at most over the Christmas period. If you forget something, it is not the end of the world although having a list will help ensure that this does not happen. Sticking within budget on food will also help reduce stress in the weeks ahead when the post-holiday bills start coming in. Spending wisely before the holidays means that you will not have to deal with the anxiety of paying bills that you cannot afford. Similarly, when it comes to present buying set a limit for each gift or go the homemade route. There is nothing more delightful than receiving a gift that has been made with love and care and in this difficult economic period we have all learned to appreciate far more the value of someone’s time and effort.
Having reduced your monetary stress around the holidays, you will be in a much better position to tackle any potential relational stress over the season. To do so effectively, it is important that you both set boundaries and reduce your expectations. Do not allow old hurts or issues to arise and refuse to be drawn into arguments old and new. Simply let aggravating or provocative behavior pass you by rather than letting it upset or stress you. Above all, do not expect anyone to behave perfectly – not even you! It is unrealistic to expect anyone to do so but especially at Christmas when families spend far more time together and the pace of life is so hectic.
Follow these tips on how to reduce stress during the holidays and you find yourself able to enjoy the festive season with a far more relaxed attitude. This, in turn, will keep stress symptoms in check and stop you falling victim to a stress spiral where your stressed reactions give rise to yet more symptoms and so on. Keep your sense of humor intact and your attitude flexible and you will not go far wrong. Remember that it is up to you to show others how to treat you. Respect yourself and your own limits over the holiday season and you will find that others do the same. Remember to use safe measures this holiday season for yourself and your family.