The holiday season can be one the happiest times of the year. It can also be one of the most stressful if you’re not careful. It’s unfortunate, really, but so many times we get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays that we lose focus on the things that really matter. It’s far too easy to become overwhelmed when you have a growing inbox of party invitations and a growing list of people you just “have” to get gifts for. And we haven’t even mentioned the frustration that comes along when you’re taking those hectic shopping trips, overwhelmed, frustrated, and face to face with long lines and other irritated shoppers.
When did we become so focused on simply surviving the holiday season with our sanity intact?
It’s time for a change. The holiday season is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, and regardless of how things have gone in the past, we can get back to that. Let’s focus on thriving this holiday season, enjoying the moments, savoring the joy, and spreading good cheer.
6 Ways to Thrive this Holiday Season
- Make a list, check it twice. Old St. Nick was on to something with this one. Lists are one of the best ways to take the stress out of your hectic holiday situation. And we’re not just talking about lists for those you plan to buy gifts for, that part is a given, but lists for “all the things” you want to accomplish this holiday season. If you want to explore your city, make a list of events that are happening. Or say you want to host a holiday dinner party, make a list of guests, food, and other items you might need. If giving back is a part of your holiday tradition, make a list of all the organizations that are doing work you’re interested in.
- Set a budget and stick to it. One of the things that causes people so much stress and anxiety during the holiday season is money. Whether you’re dealing with not having enough money to buy everything you have your eye set on, or you simply threw caution to the wind and went over budget–and in the worse cases, into debt. If you’re not straight on your finances during the holiday season, it’s a direct path to financial stress. This year set a budget, make it realistic and stick to it. Get really detailed and break it down into sections. Budgets for home decorations, gifts for the kids, colleague and family gifts, holiday party attire and more. Once you hit these budgets, be more than okay with that. There is never a need to go into debt, especially during the time of year that should really be focused on so much more.
- Give yourself hard deadlines. So, we know that many of the holiday deadlines are already set up for us. You gotta order that gift before a certain date to make sure it arrives in time. You need to send that RSVP to confirm you’re attending the party or you might not make the guest list. It’s the things you don’t give yourself deadlines on that can become a source of anxiety. Put deadlines in place for your personal life as well, for example, making a deadline to finish up outstanding projects by a certain date so you don’t find yourself working through the holidays. Set a deadline for when you’ll get holiday photos or even when you’ll stop accepting event invitations. Try to make it your official deadline to be done holiday shopping the by mid-December. This will allow you to avoid the crowds and actually enjoy the holiday season with friends and family.
- Make a calendar of family activities. Something that happens a lot during the holiday season is that we’re so focused on the things we “have to get done” that things we want to do fall by the wayside. How many times have you gone into the holidays with these grand ideas of all the things you’ll do and by the time the new year rolls around, you haven’t done any of them? Making a calendar of the activities you want to do is an extremely helpful way to plan out the things that truly matter. Once they’re on your calendar, whether you use a physical or digital version, lock those activities in place and schedule other things around them. And remember, the point is to enjoy the season, so don’t overload your calendar with events and outings that will make you tired and not in a celebratory mood. You don’t have to go to every party you’re invited to.
- Take time daily to practice gratitude. Did you know that one of the most effective ways to feel happier overall is by being grateful? During the chaotic holiday season, it’s so easy to focus on your needs. You need everything. You need to go shopping, you need to get dressed, you need to decorate, you need more time. Switching your focus to all the things you already have during the holidays is a great way to reset and refocus. Every day, take a few moments to give thanks for all you have. Approach your growing to-do list with a gratitude mindset and watch how more relaxed you become.
- Treat yo’ self. Okay sis, this one’s for you. You’ve made the list, stuck to your budget, and created your boundaries. It’s time for quite possibly the most important way to thrive…treat yo’ Self-care is essential during the holiday season (and every other season there is). Take a few moments—or a few coins—to treat yourself to something you’ve had your eye on. Whether that’s the new bag you’ve been eyeing or a trip to a local spa for a massage, you’ve earned it! ’Tis the season!