The holidays are often known as the busy season by many businesses and professionals, in part because most people have a long to-do list to complete before the end of the year. For those in the retail businesses, this time of year can be the difference between making financial goals and falling short, so it’s important not to neglect work no matter how stressful it is. However, with holiday commitments to fulfill at the same time, it’s not uncommon for people to feel anxiety and depression, which can lead to things like substance abuse or suicidal thoughts.
The good news is, there are things you can do to combat those feelings and prevent stress from becoming overwhelming. Knowing how to cope with anxiety and stress is one way to keep a level head and get through the holidays without feeling despair; another way is to actively work to prevent those feelings with a good plan and some organization. Here’s how you can do both.
Make a list and check it twice
For many people, having something written down in front of them is the most helpful tool in the fight against stress because it allows them to see everything that needs to be done, with no chance that a task will be forgotten. Be thorough; make grocery lists, Christmas shopping lists, a list of chores to get done around the house. Delegate some of them to family members or your spouse/partner so that you can share the brunt of the workload and cross them off as they get done. This will help you keep track of everything and give you a sense of accomplishment.
It may seem silly to block out time to take a lunch break, but if you’re writing things down in a planner or on a calendar, don’t leave out a thing. This will help you see where wasted time might be lurking in which you could be multitasking or simply getting a small task done, and it will also help you stick to the schedule.
Don’t stress about perfection
In these days of Pinterest perfection, it’s easy to get lost in thoughts of all the amazing things you can do to decorate your house and make it magazine-cover worthy. But the reality is, most of us don’t have time to go all out, and even if we did, we’d just have to find time to take it all down again. Instead, consider investing in a “star-shower” device that will project colored, moving lights on the front of your house (five minutes or less in setup time!) and then take the kids for a drive around the neighborhood in warm pajamas, armed with to-go cups of hot chocolate, and look at the lights other families have put up. It’s a fun tradition to start and it’s much easier than struggling with garland and string lights.
Skip the Christmas cards
Christmas cards are a lovely thought, but they are pretty time consuming. Instead of making out a stack of store-bought cards or printing up the perfect photo card, have the kids make their own to send to loved ones. This will give them something to do over Christmas break and allow you some time to get other things done. Win-win!
Be the host with the most…sanity
If you’re hosting family or friends this holiday season, don’t drive yourself crazy making preparations. Ask for a helping hand if you’re feeling overwhelmed, make to-do lists so you can prioritize, and don’t go overboard with planning every minute of the evening. Your guests will likely want to socialize and eat, so some light entertainment is all that’s needed.
This article was written by Julie Morris.