Autumn is my favorite season. Beautiful leaves, comforting food, and the anticipation of holiday traditions are around the corner. As the days speed up to Thanksgiving, the to-do lists grow and stress can take over.
You can beat holiday stress this year! Let’s learn how to keep stress at bay this season.
There’s no rule saying you have to start shopping for holiday gifts on Black Friday. Throughout the year, if you see something your sister would love, buy and put it aside. Doing this prevents shopping overwhelm or last-minute panic buying.
If a family member or friend comments on something they’d love to have or experience, buy it right then if you’re able. You’ll never be stuck wondering what to get them in December and Dad won’t be adding a 30th tie to his closet.
Cooking is big during the holidays. Add pie shells, frozen appetizers, and pantry items you’ll need to your kitchen early. You won’t be stuck running to five stores when holiday shopping starts and stock is low.
Create your holiday to-do list in early Fall. Take 20 minutes to brain dump every possible task for the holidays. Don’t edit, don’t overthink, don’t try and create solutions right now. Get it out.
Next, categorize each task by holiday. Take time to reflect on which tasks are necessary and which ones would be nice to do. It’s easy to see how others celebrate or get caught up in things we think we should be doing.
Differentiate between the need to and nice to do. Move all the “need to do” items to the top of your list. Delete or move to the bottom anything that isn’t. Knowing the difference will help you manage your time and enjoy the things you are doing.
Keep It Simple
Once you have your tasks organized, how can you get them done simply?
I love shopping during the holidays. The music, decorations, and mood bring me joy. But it’s also crowded, cold and bringing young kids is a challenge. Thank goodness for online shopping.
With shipping delays being common during COVID, start early. Plus you’ll save money on not having to express it later.
Ask for Help
Holiday food is festive, delicious, and reminds us of holidays past. Do you feel pressure to cook Grandma’s Thanksgiving meal exactly the way she did? Including all 6 versions of her pies? Take the stress off holiday meals with a little help from friends.
If you’re hosting, tackle the big items like the Turkey or Ham. Ask each guest to bring their favorite holiday side or dessert. Simple side dishes like pre-mixed salad or rolls can be store-bought a few days ahead. Family recipes make holiday meals rich in bonding and memory.
Prioritize which recipes are most important. If any mashed potatoes will due, there’s no guilt in picking them up pre-made at the grocery store.
During heavy cooking days, take the load off by treating yourself to take out or a meal that’s quickly warmed up. Cooking dinner plus preparing holiday meals at the same time is a lot. Hit the easy button.
Focus on Gratitude
Holiday stress can turn anyone into a grinch. Tap into the joy of the season by focusing on what’s important. Stay focused on the people and blessings in our lives. This is more important than the to-do list. Stay grateful for what we have.
You’ll be more satisfied and won’t waste time comparing your holiday to someone else’s. More presents, more parties, and more food doesn’t make us happy. Appreciating what we do have, does.
If you start to feel yourself get bogged down with tasks, take a break. Watch a funny holiday movie, connect with a friend, move your body, or listen to holiday music. Exercise is great for lowering stress. Don’t be a stranger during the holidays.
If you can’t come into ProHealth during the holidays, join an online class from home. Sign up here for our remote Pilates classes.