Are you feeling the crunch?
With the holidays in full swing, the stress from all that planning, shopping, entertaining, and traveling might be starting to mount. And in between wrapping presents and baking cookies, you still have work to do, your kids still need help with school, and your heart still needs that 30-minute morning run.
Here are four tips to help you turn down the stress so that you can get more from your holidays.
1. Stick to a schedule.
Giving your holidays the same kind of structure that you give to your normal week can help you get everything done without going crazy. Start by preserving non-negotiables from your regular schedule, like work, driving kids to extracurriculars, doctor appointments, and exercise. Then, add your holiday non-negotiables: parties you’re hosting, planes you have to catch, and kid’s holiday concerts that you’re attending.
Next, block off a few days for shopping, whether online, in-store or both. This shopping schedule will keep you from clicking on every new deal that pops up on your phone while also making sure you cover everyone on your Nice List. From here, you’ll have a good idea of when to decorate, bake, stroll the neighborhood to look at the lights, and maybe just take a nap.
2. Leave work at work.
Your job might not stop for the holidays, but you should at least be able to pause it for a day or two. Putting in a few extra hours at the office or on your laptop at home to close out a big year-end project might ease some stress and make your holidays more enjoyable.
If someone has to hold down the fort during holiday hours, talk to your coworkers about everyone’s party plans and try to work out a schedule so no one misses out. And when you are off the clock, stay off. Power down your computer, put your cell phone out of reach and be truly present with the people who matter the most.
3. Maintain healthy habits.
The good news is that the dreaded “holiday weight gain” is a bit of a myth. According to The New England Journal of Medicine, even someone who gorges from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day will probably only gain a pound or two. And if your holiday meals are heavy on starches that you normally limit, like stuffing and rolls, any larger jumps on the scale are probably due to temporary water retention.
The bigger danger to your health over the holidays is that you might fall out of your wellness routine or let some of those holiday treats sneak into your regular diet. Moreover, if you’re vulnerable to feelings of stress or depression over the holidays, overindulging at meals could make you feel guilty even if you aren’t really hurting your health very much.
In other words, enjoy yourself, but try not to overdo it at the buffet. And while an extra lap around the block might not make that extra slice of apple pie vanish, it will keep you on track for your larger fitness goals and give you some welcome headspace away from all the happy hubbub back at home.
4. Put a bow on year-end financial tasks.
If you have a spare hour on your holiday schedule, we’d love to talk to you about some year-end housekeeping that can help you get a jump on 2023. From topping off retirement account contributions to locking in tax deductions on charitable donations and reviewing your estate plan, let us help you take a few things off your to-do list and prep for a successful New Year.
This article was prepared for Aaron Larson’s use.