This year I decided to stop being so stressed out throughout December. The following are a few easy to apply tips and tricks to de-stress this December.
1) Continue to work out! Working out helps keep you sane, keeps any anxiety at bay, plus you won't gain that dreaded holiday weight.
2) Have a plan. You need a plan for gifts and a plan for food and a plan for shopping for all of it. It helps to get my shopping done as early as possible. Now, I am not an October shopper, however getting my shopping done by the 10th of Dec. makes me feel like I have a head start; plus if I forget something, I can always go get it.
A good rule of thumb is to have your shopping done at least 4 days ahead of time. For food shoot for 2 days. Perhaps the most stressful thing about the holidays is expecting you can just go out and buy something only to find out they don't have it, the lines are too long, or everyone is moving at a glacial pace.
* Bonus: Have a mapped out plan, including all props for your Elf on the Shelf ideas! This is a huge stresor for parents! A little planning will save you literally hours of panic throughout the month.
3) Order gifts and groceries online. Services like Shipt and Amazon make shopping a breeze and you don't have to spend time in traffic or waiting in line.
4) Have extra gifts on hand. I am terrible at remembering things. I always make sure to have extra gifts in case I have forgotten someone or I receive an unexpected gift. Something like homemade cookies is a great gift for those unexpected neighbors that drop by with something for you.
5) Be generous. We need to remember the reason for the season and it's easy to be grateful in November and then think to yourself “screw that I've got presents to buy”. You will feel better about your holidays knowing that you have helped someone less fortunate. If giving money or gifts isn’t your thing, you can always help out by giving your time or talent.
6) Ditch the traditions you hate. I learned this the hard way. As it turns out, other people may dislike them too, don't waste your holiday season repeating traditions that you resent.
7) Do something fun! A light walk, a show, a concert or if you're local to Freeland,the light show at the Tittabawassee Park is fantastic! Find a way to bring a little joy into your December. Holiday cheer helps you take a step back and enjoy what it's really all about.
8) Don’t Binge on snacks and treats. We all have trouble with self control, especially when it comes to sweets or Hors D'Oeuvres! It may be helpful to shift your framework and think of each bite in terms of the number of minutes you are going to have to work out in order to get rid of those calories. You will start to see those dips and yummy desserts in a whole different light. Side note: I am not saying you can't splurge because we all should enjoy the holidays and the delicious treats however a little self control goes a long way.
9) Have a staging Area. This is extremely important if you are a forgetful person. Each day or each party should have a staging area. We have a counter-top in our laundry Room that works great! I put all of the gifts and food that need to go to a holiday party in one place and grab it on the way out the door. This way I don't forget half of the gifts under the tree or my potato skins in the microwave.
10) Be Grateful. Sometimes it's easy to be cynical or critical but when you take a step back it is incredible that we even have the opportunity to celebrate the life of the Newborn King. It is incredible that his life has created an entire month or two, depending on how early you decorate, of spirit that fills every one of us and spreads cheer around the world. Be grateful that you have a roof over your head, warm blankets, food to eat and clothing to wear even if that gift from your crazy Aunt Gina came out of left field. You're crazy aunt loves you and was kind enough to to shop for something she thought you would like and that in itself is something to be grateful for.
11) Decrease screen time and be present. The quickest way to stress and being discontent is comparing yourself to others. You can't do it all. Someone will always have a better Elf the Shelf idea, and your family needs you to be present with them because someone else's life does not matter. Create the life that you love!
Make this Christmas wonderful.