Minimize stress with a holiday plan

Whether or not we care to admit it, the holidays throw some serious demands at us. Few of us can honestly say that we are not tempted to give in. Many of us just take up the mantle and run ourselves ragged. Here’s a news flash – the ball of resistance is in our court. So, how can we welcome and enjoy the Christmas holidays without the usual stress? With a plan of course!

The budget. Good Lord, the budget! If we budget to spendX and receive Y (Christmas bonuses, sales commissions, sou-sou hands, Christmas hampers, barrels from family living abroad, seasonal vouchers, etc.), our first response should be, “Thank God I don’t have to spend all of my X! Cash in hand, free holiday goodies, vouchers or gifts, should be viewed as a signal to save and not to spend unnecessarily. In fact, we should dance a jig, leave our money in the bank and maximize whatever we receive.  

The time. Schedule quiet moments for others. The most precious memories are created during the quiet times spent with loved ones. Block off some time on your calendar just for quiet, quality time with the important people in your life.
               Schedule quiet moments for yourself. During the holidays, we might put ourselves and our needs on the back burner. This habit can be detrimental to our overall health as we don’t salvage time to rest and nourish ourselves. Moreover, we miss out on enjoying those aspects of the holidays that matter to us. We should put our names on our lists this year and schedule time to nourish ourselves and enjoy the holidays our way.  
  
The energy. We run ourselves ragged in the name of tradition. However, when we deplete our energy our minds go haywire – racing with anxious or irrational thoughts. Our feelings become fragile and we can be easily hurt. We might even act and react in ways that are excessive or understated in given situations. We can ease the pressure by budgeting our energy: curbing our tendency to multitask, delegating tasks to family members and trading chores with other busy relatives and friends.

The traditions. Do we really have to be in the thick of every Christmas tradition? Knowing how charged the season can be, we should plan ahead how we will and will not celebrate the holidays. We could gather family members together, share what is truly important for each of us to enjoy the holidays and decide how far we are willing to go with our celebrations. If we focus on the things that matter, it will be a lot easier to abstain from excessive and irrelevant activities. In fact, we will be able to stand our ground when faced with requests or demands to participate in activities that are not on our list of priorities. 

Are you in the habit of diving into the Christmas holidays and finding yourself drowning in debt, no quality time for friends, family and yourself, low on energy, high on anxiety and overwhelmed by traditions? Do things differently this year. Resist the temptation to stretch yourself thin and end up not enjoying the holidays. Adopt holiday planning for an thrifty, quality, restful and enjoyable Christmas. Plan your budget, your time, your energy and which traditions you will observe. 

(Published in Womanwise Magazine on Sunday 9th December 2012.)

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