The holidays can be tough, can’t they? Especially if you’ve got children and a large family. Gone are the days when people were happy to merely spend time together as a family. Now, there are huge Christmas lists, countless events to attend, decorations to put up as soon as December hits and everyone seems to want so much from you.
Of course, it doesn’t help that this incredibly stressful time happens to coincide with flu season. So not only do you have to cook and clean, buy and wrap presents for everyone, taxi your kids to parties, pick up relatives for visits and generally keep everyone happy and filled with festive cheer, you’ve also got to fight off coughs and colds and keep everyone well.
Due to this, many people find themselves suffering from festive-burn out. In the run-up to Christmas, people find themselves stressed out, struggling to get enough sleep and even depressed. This can easily ruin their enjoyment of what should be a fantastic family time. So, to combat the festive burn-out, here are some hacks to keep your Christmas as calm and stress-free as possible.
Christmas starts earlier every year. For some, this only increases the stress. But, you can use it to your advantage. Christmas cards and decorations are in the shops already, gift guides like this 47 Must Have Stocking Stuffers For Her This Christmas are already online, and Christmas food is in stores. So, start your shopping.
Shopping bit at a time can cut costs and reduce stress. Hide gifts wherever you can, you could even rent a storage space for a month. Freeze any food that you don’t need yet and enjoy getting to cross a few things off your to-do list before the early nights have even set in.
When it comes to organizing and reducing stress, lists are your very best friend. Write lists for everything. Have a master list including everything that you need to do. Then, write smaller lists to break down your tasks. You’ll need a food shopping list, card lists, a gift plan, a cleaning jobs list and anything else that you can think of.
It might look overwhelming when you first write everything down. But, as soon as you start crossing things off or putting ticks in your boxes it’ll all start to seem much more manageable.
Wrap as You Go
One thing that adds to the stress of the festive period is wrapping. You get the gift shopping out of the way in plenty of time, only to leave wrapping for later. Then, you are in a rush to buy enough gift wrap and find yourself spending days working through a massive mountain of gifts.
So, wrap as you buy. Every time you buy a Christmas gift, wrap and label it before you hide it. This will save a lot of time in the long run and help you to keep things organized.
You don’t have to do it all alone. Ask for help. Delegate jobs to your family and friends. If people are coming over for Christmas dinner, ask them to bring something with them. Throw a decorating party to get everyone to help prepare your home, assign the kids small cleaning jobs and get them to make and write Christmas cards.
Trying to do everything yourself without asking for help is a leading cause of stress and can completely ruin the festive period, ask for what you need.
If You Don’t Like It, Don’t Do It
There are no rules when it comes to festivities. If there’s something you particularly hate, don’t do it. If you hate wrapping, by gift bags instead. If you hate writing cards, order them pre-signed online. If you hate cooking lunch, order in so you just need to warm it up. Don’t be a slave to tradition just for the sake of it. If you genuinely don’t like doing something, forget it.
Lower Your Standards
Another key cause of stress is piling the pressure onto yourself. Aiming for the perfect Christmas day and failing to enjoy it in the process. As long as you spend the day with those you love, very little else matters. No one will care if the tree is a bit wonky or the sprouts are overcooked. Lower your standards a bit, and you’ll have a lot more fun.
Many of us overspend over the holiday period. Which leads to worry and sleepless nights which can last a lot longer than the leftovers from dinner. To avoid getting into debt, make yourself a sensible budget and stick to it.
Making gifts is a brilliant way to save money, but many people don’t consider it as they think it will only add to their stress. And, to be honest, it might. But, if you enjoy crafting or baking you might actually find that taking a little time out to make something with your own hands helps you to relax and unwind.
Travel over the holidays can be unimaginably stressful. There’s traffic and adverse weather to contend with, as well as the stress of attempting to transport huge presents across the country.
Check the weather forecast and plan your travel. Give yourself plenty of time, get to the airport early if you are flying and if possible, have a backup plan.
Stick to Your Routine
What do you usually do to unwind? Try to stick to your regular routine as much as you can. If you enjoy taking a long bath, reading a book or exercising, make time to keep doing it, even when you are busy.
Let Stores Help
Shops, both online and brick and mortar offer a lot of extras nowadays. Take advantage of them. Say yes to gift wrapping, bag packing or next day delivery. Every little helps.
Have One Big Shop
If you need to head to the mall, do it once and do it well. Large shopping centers are exceptionally busy in the run-up to Christmas. Simply walking in can be stressful. So, make sure you only have to do it once. Write a list of what you need to get and where from. Take a look at a mall layout online before you go and plan your route. Then, go and do your shopping armed with your plan, a bottle of water and some comfortable shoes.
Order Food Online
The food shop can be even more stressful than gift shopping. We’ve all seen or heard about fights breaking out in the biscuit aisle. Ordering online can be risky at busy times, shops often run out of critical items, and you can’t be sure what substitutions you may get. But, shopping online for the non-essentials is a great idea.
Now so many large stores are open 24 hours, there really is no need to go during the busier times. Order anything you can online, then head to the store at an unsociable hour to avoid queues and find the best deals.
Buy frozen vegetables, frozen roast potatoes and anything else you can think of. You could even make cranberry sauce weeks before and pop in the freezer. Frozen food lasts, tastes great and keps its nutrients if cooked right.
Learning to say no to people and their requests could cut your Christmas stress massively. Start practicing now.
Whatever happens, remember it’s your holiday too so make sure you enjoy it. Good Luck and have fun!