7 Tips for a Stress-Free Holiday Season

The holidays are a busy time. While they can be wonderful and joyous, they can also be very stressful. Follow these 7 tips to avoid unnecessary stresses this festive season. 

Enjoy a Stress-Free Christmas Here's How

Plan Ahead

December is jam packed with end of year activities, from school and work functions, to family commitments and more. Planing out how and where you will spend your time can save you a lot of stress free days and nights. 

  • Use a diary or calendar to schedule all you upcoming events.
  • Try not to overbook yourself. If you have multiple overlapping events or find yourself having to run from one commitment to another, chance are you will become tired, stressed and not enjoy yourself.
  • Set clear boundaries. If you are visiting different family and friends for the holidays, be sure to notify them ahead of time that you can only stay for X amount of time as you have other commitments. This can save akward conversations and possible tensions on the day. 
  • Schedule your time wisely. Prioritise the important events and don't feel guilty if you can't attend everything. 

Travel Smart

  • If travelling by road, allow yourself plenty of time to reach your destination and ALWAYS expect traffic. Travelling at certain times of day can often give you a clear run, however unexpected delays can happen any time. Be sure to check your car's water, oil and tyre pressure before setting off to avoid unnecessay breakdowns and always drive safely.
  • If travelling by plane, arrive at the airport with plenty of time to spare, as you can expect long lines. Delayed flights are bound to happen, so come prepared with a book, ipod or something else to pass the time. And if you can avoid checking luggage, do so. Using carry on luggage only will get you through the airport faster once you reach your destination and will avoid any lost luggage situations. 
  • When travelling with children, come prepared. Ensure each child has something of their own to keep them occupied and comfortable, as well as a water bottle and snacks. You can never have too many snacks. You may also want to pack travel sick bags as a precaution and schedule in stops on long journeys to use the bathroom and stretch their legs.
  • Finally, use lists. Lists are your best friend. Make lists of things you need to pack, things you need to do an so on. It makes travelling so much easier and there is less chance you will forget to pack Granny's present.

Budget

Christmas is the most expensive time of the year and, as such, can cause a great deal of stress for some. Budgeting can ease some of that strain.

  • Create a budget and stick to it.
  • Secret Santa is a great idea if you have a large family to buy gifts for. Everyone only has to buy 1 gift each, making it much more affordable. 
  • Shop the specials. Most supermarkets have weekly specials throughout the month of December on their best sellers, sometimes at half price and a lot of items get reduced at the end of the day. Retailers will also have certain specials in the lead up to Christmas, especially online. 
  • Locally owned businesses and markets often sell things much cheaper than large chains, and can sometimes have a more personalised touch. 
  • Spend within your means. Blowing out your budget and starting the new year with debt hanging over your head will only create more stress in the future.

Be a Smart Gifter

  • Know what you want to buy before heading to the shops. It makes for a quicker shopping experience and generally stops overspending.
  • Shop online to avoid crowds and the hassle of trying to find a carpark.
  • Avoid leaving your shopping to the last minute. Not only will you find yourself stressed and in a rush, but you may find many things are sold out.
  • Use gift wrapping services. Most retailers offer gift wrapping at their point of sale during the holidays, saving you time and effort. Local charities also set up gift wrapping stations in shopping centres. For only a few dollars, you can have beautifully wrapped gifts while helping those less fortunate.
  • If you are tackling gift wrapping yourself, avoid trying to do it all at once, especially if you have a lot of presents to wrap. 
  • Keep all your receipts together in a safe place. Come Christmas Day, if something doesn't work or (gulp) someone doesn't like your gift, you won't have to spend hours searching or explaining that you don't have the receipt to return things.

Cook Like a Pro

If you're hosting family and friends this festive season, preparation is the key.

  • Prepare as many things as you can ahead of time as it will save time in the kitchen when guests arrive.
  • Ask everyone attending to bring a plate to share, saving everyone time and money.
  • Have a backup plan incase something happens. As prepared as you can be, sometimes the turkey will burn and nothing will save it.
  • It is better to over cater than to run out of food. Most supermarkets are closed Christmas Day, so you can't just pop out to the shops. Leftovers can be enjoyed for a few days, or taken to local homeless shelters.

Relax

One of the biggest ways to avoid stress these holidays is to relax. Be sure to schedule in some downtime to take care of yourself. Take a long bath, have a glass of wine, watch a movie. Whatever helps you to relax and unwind. Use that time to clear your mind of all the things that need doing and focus on yourself and what you need.

Practice Mindfulness

Above all else, don't forget to live in the moment. Be present at each event you attend and take in your surroundings and the people you are with. This will allow you to enjoy each moment for what it is and not get caught up in the craziness of the holidays.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR - EMMA LOU

Emma is a 31-year-old mother from the north coast of New South Wales, Australia.

She has a Bachelors degree in Business (Human Resources & Marketing) but has set aside work for the past 7 years to raise her 3 beautiful children.

Outside of the tears, tantrums & joy that is motherhood, Emma enjoys cooking, home decor & all things beauty related.