Did you know that December is Stress-Free Family Holidays month?
Now, I don’t know about your family, but holidays aren’t exactly stress-free in mine! However, there are ways to reduce the stress around this time of year.
1. Get a move on!
If you’ve been reading our articles, you know that we are BIG fans of adding movement to your day. In whatever ways you can. At work, you can stand at your desk, sit on a wobble stool or ball chair to get some movement in even while you’re seated.
Good ergonomics are important at home too. Sitting in front of the computer for hours on end isn’t healthy for anyone. Especially young children who need a lot of activity.
If you have kids, you’re setting the example for them. Always on your phone? Do you come home and sit for hours in front of the computer?
What does that tell your kids? Not only do they come second to the electronics in your life, but spending your life with your face in a screen is perfectly fine.
2. Eat, drink, and be well
Yes, there are lots of goodies around this time of year! But a heavy calorie load isn’t any better for you, just because it happens in December.
Make sure the healthy food comes first, before you start adding in junk food. Treats are fine, but they’re not meals. What treats can you only access during this time of year? Prioritize those. Skip the ones you can have any old time.
Hydrate! If you’re partying, remember, alcohol is dehydrating. As is sugar. Make sure everyone is getting plenty of water. This also helps people slow down on the sweets.
3. Make a gift-giving and/or party-hosting plan
Finances are important this time of year. Avoid splurging so much that you end up in more debt!
Set a gift budget. A realistic one. Something you can stick to, that doesn’t make you load up on the credit cards.
Finances tight? They are for lots of people! Not a sign that you should spend beyond your limits, though. That’s your cue to get creative.
Do you have to buy gifts for everyone? (Hint: no.) Are there gifts you can make or create? Go for it!
Same with parties if you’re hosting. (See last week’s post for the 411 on safe and sane partying.) You don’t have to buy the most expensive alcohol or food that you can find.
Reduce, reuse, recycle when it comes to party planning. Manage your expenditures during this time, because it’s very easy for them to spiral out of control.
But you don’t have to let them.
4. Think: BOUNDARIES (and not the kind in your yard!)
It is especially important to set boundaries for yourself and your family this time of year.
Kids need guidance on how and how not to behave. Rewards and corrections should be clear to them. If you have a relative who’s always troublesome this time of year … and who doesn’t, really?? … make sure you know how much time you’ll spend with them. If at all. And how to make a graceful exit when you need to.
Boundaries are for yourself too. Need time to recharge? Maybe time that you only want to spend with family. Not with the neighbors from three streets away, plus your work colleagues, who are always down for free food.
Don’t say “yes” when your heart says “no”.
It’s OK to not go to every single party you’re invited to. It’s OK to hang out in your jammies with the kids or your spouse on a cold winter night.
5. Help, help!
You’re not going to get any prizes for doing everything yourself. They don’t give out gold medals for running yourself into the ground. I checked.
Ask for help. Your kids can take on a number of chores if they haven’t already. Ask for help with what you need.
It reduces the stress on you, which means your family is less stressed. Kids like to contribute. LET THEM. No, it won’t be perfect. Will anyone notice? Also no!
Finally, simply take a deep breath. Holidays can be fun, but also stressful and overwhelming. By using the tips above, have more of a holly jolly holiday.
How are YOU celebrating this year? Let us know in the comments!