The holiday season will look a little bit different this year because of the ongoing pandemic. The stress of the situation created by the coronavirus, combined with usual holiday-related stress and worry can leave you feeling anxious and maxed-out. Whether you're planning on trying to make the holidays as normal as possible or are planning on scaling back your celebrations, here's what you can do to keep your stress levels in check and to enjoy a festive and fun season.
Give Yourself a Budget
Holiday spending can be a major source of stress. Between the gifts you want to buy for your loved ones and the decorations you want to purchase to make your home cheerful, you can end up going overboard and spend more than you planned.
To reduce feelings of guilt and stress about holiday debt, sit down, review your finances, and set a budget before you spend a penny on the holiday season. That way, you'll have an idea of exactly what you can afford.
Making lists goes hand in hand with creating a holiday budget. Once you know what you can afford to spend this season, start planning how you'll spend it. You might need to adjust your plans for gift giving. Instead of purchasing expensive presents for everyone you're close to, you might decide to buy presents for the kids in your life and to give homemade gifts to the adults. Another option is to do a gift exchange with your adult relatives or friends, to reduce the burden of gift-giving on everyone.
In addition to gift lists, make lists for your decoration plans and any holiday events. Depending on your schedule and how comfortable you are spending time with others right now, you might need to pick and choose the parties and gatherings you attend carefully.
Plan Ways to Spend Time With Your Loved Ones
It might not be possible to see all the people you usually see during the holidays this year, because of the ongoing pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are recommending limiting the number of people at any gatherings and holding events outdoors, if possible.
While you might not be going to large holiday parties, you can still make plans to see your loved ones. It might be worthwhile to put together a virtual holiday event, allowing people to check-in and connect over Zoom or a similar video software program.
Try to Stick to Your Usual Routine
During the holidays, regular routines and schedules often get pushed aside. You might eat at unusual times, eat more than usual, or eat richer or more sugary foods that you usually do. Any self-care practices you have established, such as exercise, meditation or journaling, might be neglected as you bustle about.
To help yourself stay calm and collected, try to stick to your usual habits as much as possible. If you travel for the holidays, dedicate several minutes at the start of your day to your routine, whether that involves going for a run, doing yoga, or writing in your journal.
The same is true of eating. Try to eat at your usual times as much as possible and try to stick to your usual diet. A treat here or there is fine: The goal is to enjoy the holidays without over-indulging.
Treat Yourself to a Facial or Massage
If all that holiday stress is bringing you down, you might need to find a more immediate way to relax. Booking a massage, facial, or other self-pampering treatment can help you feel more at ease during the season. If you'd like, you can turn your spa day into a bonding experience between you and your friends or between you and relatives you don't see often.
The holidays can be hectic. Remember to carve time out for yourself and you'll feel better as the season goes on and after it's all over.
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