It’s two weeks before Christmas, and if you’re like most women, you’re obsessing about everything you have to get done between now and then. Holiday celebrations are supposed to be joyous occasions, but too often they result in stress and depression due to all the demands that are placed on us and that we place on ourselves. Sometimes we become our own worst enemy.
Here are some tips for minimizing the stress that threatens to sabotage us this time of year:
1. Take a deep breath. Whenever you’re feeling frazzled and pulled in a million directions at once, give yourself a time-out. Close your eyes, and take some deep calming breaths.
2. Don’t try to be a superhero. It’s unrealistic to think that you can create the perfect holiday. You can’t, and guess what? No one expects you to. Once you accept this, you and everyone else around you will have a more enjoyable celebration.
3. Decide what you need to do and create a schedule—but again, make it a realistic one. If you’re going to bake, make double-batches of half the varieties of cookies you normally make instead of so many different varieties. Rather than fighting for a parking space at the mall and standing in long lines at the register, do as much of your shopping online as you can. Plan your meals ahead of time and shop for all the ingredients once instead of running back and forth to the store because you’ve run out of something.
4. Create a budget and stick to it. Spending more than you should spend will only create more stress for you once those bills come due in January.
5. If you’re having company, clear away the clutter, but don’t obsess over the need for a spotless house. It’s only going to get dirty from all that company. And if you see your mother-in-law swiping her finger across your mantle to check for dust, that’s her problem, not yours. Don’t let her drive you crazy.
6. Remember that your health comes first. The best way to fight stress is to get enough sleep, exercise, and eat healthfully.