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10 Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

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Whether you’re a mother getting ready for the holidays with your family, making sure all the bags are packed and all the presents are perfectly wrapped, or if you’re a twenty-something woman trying to decide what perfect dress to wear for your new year’s party- it can be a stressful time. This is in itself stressful, considering that the entire idea behind the holidays is having fun with the people you love most.

Luckily, there are some easy ways that you can avoid that stress. All you have to do is follow these tips:

1 Buy travel-proof gifts

Believe it or not, this hack is going to save you a lot of hassle. Why? Because if you’re traveling anywhere over Christmas, having to pack bags full of gifts is going to not only be challenging but will possibly cost you money if your bags are overweight. (Airlines collected more than $1 billion in baggage fees from April- June 2016!) By getting travel-proof gifts, such as books or gift cards, you’ll feel less burdened- figuratively and literally.

2 Be simple with your decorations

It can be tempting to go overboard with decorating, especially if you’re hosting a party or there’s a competition with Joneses next door. But at the end of the day, keeping decorations simple means that you can focus on what really matters: family and fun. If you want to go overboard on something that means a lot to you, like custom feather flags, go for it, but only over-decorate if it’s your favorite part of the holidays. With holiday spending exceeding $1 trillion in 2016 alone, it may be smart to save on decorations.

3 Cut down on your to-do list

Remember, you’re not a paralegal for a lawyer who manages SSI application forms in their Springfield firm- the holidays are about relaxing, not about writing up a list longer than Santa’s. So make sure your to-do list is as short as possible, includes only what’s most necessary, and delete or cross off what you don’t actually need. In a survey, only 10 percent of respondents reported no stress during the holiday season, so aim to be one of them.

4 Be honest about your financial situation

One of the largest stressors during the holidays is money. No surprise there: from the gifts to the travel, to the decorations, costs suddenly add up, and you may even end up taking on some debt. If you’re honest with yourself at the beginning of the season, you’ll be able to plan earlier, and if you’re honest with relatives and friends, they’ll put less pressure on you to hop on far flung flights. Americans are already spending $228.4 billion on the holidays every year, there’s no need to make that number higher.

5 Make some time for you

It can be a challenge to make time for yourself during such a busy time, but it’s essential. Even if you’re organizing family events, ask your partner to help you out while you soak in the tub for a quick thirty minutes with your favorite book. It’ll do wonder for your stress, and energize you for the next set of tasks. There’s a reason why chronic stress makes getting a cold twice as likely. Here are some mini-relaxation ideas to get inspired.

6 If you’re hosting, have guests bring food

Another way to significantly cut down on your holiday responsibilities, if you’re hosting a party or dinner, is by having your guests bring food. By serving a potluck style meal, you won’t have to spend hours, or possibly even days, preparing in advance. Alcohol intake triples over Christmas, so sit back and sip on the eggnog while you wait for the pie to bake and for your guests to arrive.

7 Have your gifts delivered

Another way to avoid gift-buying stress is by avoiding the stores altogether. Instead, order your gifts online, whether that’s from a large retailer like or your favorite online Etsy shop. If you’re not sure what to get your family and friends, ask for a Christmas list via email, so you can keep everything online. Nearly 70 percent of Americans shop online regularly, so why not buy your gifts online, too?

8 If you’re feeling gloomy, exercise

There’s no need to feel like the Grinch, not when you can get those endorphins pumping with exercise. Even exercising for only 20 minutes benefits your mood for the next 12 hours. So get your favorite hockey sticks out of the garage, or go for a walk, and feel happier.

9 Delegate tasks

Another great way to de-stress is by delegating tasks. For example, if you’ve got kids, put on some music and ask them for help with the Christmas decorations. If you’re going shopping because you absolutely have to go to the store, go with friends, and split up your Christmas list to save time. The more creative you get about delegating as many tasks as you can, the easier it will all be. Considering that 3 out of 4 doctors’ visits are for stress-related ailments, it’s smart to delegate.

10 Take a step back

At the end of a busy day, or at the beginning of one, you’ll want to take a step back and get some perspective. Just take a minute or two alone with your cup of tea or coffee, and take a deep breath, and remind yourself that what matters most is enjoying the company of your family and friends. That’s it. That’s what the holidays are about (and, besides, taking a break once an hour increases work productivity). If anything goes wrong- well, that’s what family and friends are for, aren’t they?

What do you do to get rid of stress during the holidays? Post your tips here!

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